Soccer is game that I know next to nothing about other than to watch a ball get kicked or head-butted up and down the field for, 90 or more minutes. The game has become, how shall I say this, one which “soccer moms (or dads),” allow their kids to play because you can lose an arm or leg playing football. And, yes, I speak of American football. Is that to say a boy who plays soccer is a “sissy boy?” Well, not if he is a girl. Okay. Let me start over.
All of what I say is bullshit, of course. Maybe some of it isn’t. Perhaps some moms won’t let their young soccer star in his unsoiled shorts and socks watch the World Cup because it is too brutal. Well, there is something to be said for that, in that it can be brutal. Which gets me to the object of all this. Deuce.
The Deuce is loose. Clint Dempsey, self-published via Creative Commons.
Deuce is kind of an alias and alter ego for a white boy rapper who was raised in the trailer park south of Nacogdoches, Texas. Most of Deuce, permit me to forgo the possessive, friends were the Mexican niños of chicken factory and construction workers. “Don’t Tread” is a rap video Deuce made for Nike during the 2006 World Cup. Oh, did I say Deuce also plays soccer?
Clint “Deuce” Dempsey is probably the best United States soccer player. That is unless you want to count Landon Donovan. The Los Angeles Galaxy and past U.S. national team star is sitting out this World Cup as an ESPN analyst. His sabbatical is not entirely of his own doing and many people much, much more knowledgeable about the sport known as fútbol than I will argue — perhaps some violently — that Donovan is the best.
But Donovan is in the broadcast booth during this World Cup. Deuce is on the field.
Sometimes though, Dempsey isn’t standing upright on the field, as was the case for a moment yesterday when a player for the Ghana team made an incredibly high kick that left Dempsey on the ground. In perhaps the best lead concerning the 2-1 U.S. win Monday, so far, the Sporting News Mike DeCourcy delivered this wonderful sports injury diagnosis:
“There was no need for a medical degree in order to diagnose Clint Dempsey’s injury. Heck, a tree surgeon could have gotten it right from 5,000 miles away. Anyone watching in high definition could have told you that nose was broken.”
I didn’t even need high definition. Oh, I suppose I should have said: “Soccer moms with queasy tummies, turn your little darlings’ heads away.”
I may not know much about soccer. But I know a story when I see one. And, by God, Clint Dempsey has a story. And now he is captain of the U.S. World Cup team and has a broken nose after scoring one of the sixth or seventh quickest goals in World Cup history. Rookie Defender John Brooks, 21, made the winning goal at minute 87 of the match after Ghana had tied the game somewhere back there as time was running out. Brooks now is a story in his own right. This story I linked yesterday is probably the best that tells the early Clint Dempsey tale. If you’ve not read it, please do so.
But back to Clint Dempsey, Deuce, the boy who played soccer with his little Mexican friends and later with not too friendly Mexican men on the fields under the North Street overpass in Naco-Nowhere. Well, like all young men are likely to discover, the old hometown isn’t always nowhere.
Nacogdoches was my second hometown. How can you have a second hometown? I don’t know. I have a third and maybe even a fourth. Nac is no doubt mine though. I lived there for about 15 years during three different stints. Some say the third time is a charm. Hell, I said the third time is a charm. But I don’t know. I no longer am never saying never when it comes to moving back to Nacogdoches for good. Maybe I will, maybe I won’t.
I know from what I read that Dempsey likes going home to see his folks and to go bass fishing. There’s nothing wrong with that. The Deuce can do what he likes, of course. Whether he leads his team on to an unlikely World Cup championship, or even just one more game, I must say that young man — Dempsey is now 31 — has got a hell of a game. And a story.