It has been nearly a year since Clint Dempsey stealthily arrived in Seattle and was introduced to an exuberant CenturyLink Field crowd as the newest star for Sounders FC last August.
Now, with his appearance as a Co-Grand Marshal in the 2014 Alaska Airlines Seafair Torchlight Parade on Saturday along with Seattle native DeAndre Yedlin, Dempsey is feeling more and more like a Seattlite himself.
“Anytime you can be involved in the community you feel more like a part of that community,” Dempsey said. “Being able to live here with my family, have them in the schools here and be a part of some of the things that we do in the community, you feel more attached, more involved and more a part of it. The community has shown us a lot of love and it’s good to show love back and be a part of that.”
Whether it’s in the record-setting crowds at CenturyLink Field or in videos of fans supporting the U.S. National Team’s World Cup run at viewing parties around the city, Dempsey has felt welcomed to the Emerald City from the day he arrived. That auditory embrace has grown in volume with each of his nine goals this season, as he closes in on the one-year anniversary of his debut in Rave Green.
Although he spent nearly four months away from Seattle while on loan to Fulham earlier this year and for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, Dempsey is growing more comfortable calling Seattle home, too.
“My family loves it here. We want to stay here as long as possible,” he said. “We look forward to the parade, but we look forward to at least two more years here after this season and hopefully more.”
Dempsey was joined in the parade on Saturday by his wife and three children. An event like Seafair is just the type of family event to spark memories of his hometown of Nacogdoches, Texas. As a kid, he watched his brother and sisters take part in parades and other festivities, whether it was as a twirler or as part of the 4-H organization.
Recalling those events brought a smile to Dempsey’s face, knowing that even far from his youth in Texas, he could find a piece of Nacogdoches and the charm a hometown can bring in his new home - Seattle.