Clint Dempsey scored 12 goals for Seattle this past regular season. (Andy Mead/YCJ Photo)
Seattle Sounders FC forward Clint Dempsey has been named the Major League Soccer’s comeback player of the year.
The annual award honors a player who has overcome injuries and/or adversity in order to achieve success during the regular season.
After Dempsey was diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat last year, the fate of his playing career was in jeopardy as he was forced to miss the final 10 games of the 2016 regular season and the MLS Cup playoffs.
Yet despite the odds of returning from such a significant setback, Dempsey shined this season, scoring a goal in his first match in six months, and leading Sounders FC this season with 12 goals and five assists for a second-place finish in the Western Conference (53 points, 14-9-11 overall record).
A native of Nacogdoches, Texas, Dempsey has scored 46 goals for Sounders FC in MLS regular season play, one shy of the Seattle’s record. With Sounders FC registering a 9-2-1 record in games in which he recorded a goal or an assist, Dempsey played 2,276 minutes this season, the most in his five years with the club.
Dempsey, the 2004 MLS rookie of the year, helped Seattle to its ninth consecutive postseason, scoring two goals against Vancouver Whitecaps FC Nov. 2 to propel Sounders FC to a second consecutive Western Conference championship appearance.
On the international scene, Dempsey’s 57 career goals is tied for the U.S. men’s national team record.
The award was voted on by MLS club technical staff, media and MLS players.
Below is a breakdown of the voting results:
|Comeback Player of the Year||Player Vote %||Media Vote %||Club Vote %||Average %|
|Clint Dempsey (SEA)||14.52%||26.38%||15.48%||18.79%|
|Federico Higuaín (CLB)||16.13%||11.96%||26.19%||18.09%|
|Erick Torres (HOU)||6.05%||22.39%||15.48%||14.64%|
|Yordy Reyna (VAN)||12.90%||8.59%||5.95%||9.15%|
|Drew Moor (TOR)||8.87%||3.99%||13.10%||8.65%|
|Ben Sweat (NYC)||4.03%||4.29%||5.95%||4.76%|
MLS Comeback Player of the Year Winners:
2017: Clint Dempsey – Seattle Sounders FC
2016: Chris Pontius – Philadelphia Union
2015: Tim Melia – Sporting Kansas City
2014: Rodney Wallace – Portland Timbers
2013: Kevin Alston – New England Revolution
2012: Eddie Johnson – Seattle Sounders FC
2011: David Beckham – Los Angeles Galaxy
2010: Bobby Convey – San Jose Earthquakes
2009: Zach Thornton – Chivas USA
2008: Kenny Cooper – FC Dallas
2007: Eddie Johnson – Kansas City Wizards
2006: Richard Mulrooney – FC Dallas
2005: Chris Klein – Kansas City Wizards
2004: Brian Ching – San Jose Earthquakes
2003: Chris Armas – Chicago Fire
2002: Chris Klein – Kansas City Wizards
2001: Troy Dayak – San Jose Earthquakes
2000: Tony Meola – Kansas City Wizards