Clint Dempsey says he'll 'never say no' to U.S. national team call-up
Clint Dempsey says he will "never say no" to a national team call-up, even after the United States' failure to qualify for the World Cup.
Sources said this week that Dempsey has agreed to a new deal to return to the Seattle Sounders next season, but at 34, he's at an age where many of his contemporaries consider international retirement.
But despite not being able to play in a World Cup until 2022, Dempsey said he will answer the U.S.'s call as long as he's productive and wanted.
Asked by the Sounders' website how much he wants to continue his international career, Dempsey said: "We'll see what happens. I mean, in terms of what I've been able to accomplish with the national team, I'm at peace with it
"It's not really about me. It's about a group of guys that want to be moving forward. If there's an opportunity that comes where you get to play a role and try to help and I'm feeling good and I'm playing well, then yeah, you'll never say no.
"But you know, if the call never comes, I'm still happy, still at peace and focused on being here and trying to make the most of the time I have left."
Dempsey, who is one goal away from breaking the U.S. all-time goal scoring record, also said he believes U.S. Soccer needs to make a host of changes in order to avoid a similar fate in the future.
"We need to be better," he said. "You look at the Gold Cup -- not the last one but the one before that -- that was a failure. Not getting to the final, losing to Jamaica in the semifinals. That was tough to take.
"There need to be improvements. We need to be producing better players. We need to be playing a better style and hopefully that will happen in the future."
But even if he's not a regular in the next qualifying campaign, Dempsey is confident that the next generation will step up.
"The players you really feel bad for are the younger players, who haven't had a chance to experience playing in a World Cup," Dempsey said. "I know they'll right the wrong in the next World Cup qualifying."
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