You could argue that tonight will be one of the most significant nights for club soccer teams on American soil in years, for four different reasons:
One. Clint Dempsey is set to be unveiled as a Seattle Sounders player at 10:15pm ET in front of a sell-out crowd at CenturyLink Field. World Soccer Talk will be bringing you a live stream of the special presentation beginning at 10pm ET tonight.
Two. At 7pm ET, the New York Cosmos will play their first competitive match in twenty-nine years when they host the Fort Lauderdale Strikers at Hofstra University. The Cosmos have filled the soccer headlines in the New York area the last few days, including lighting up the Empire State Building and closing the New York Stock Exchange yesterday.
Three. At 8pm ET tonight, for the first time in US history, two European teams will be broadcasted live on free-to-air television in primetime in the United States when Real Madrid plays Everton in the International Champions Cup. The match will be shown live on FOX network, not FOX Soccer. The winner will play in the final of the International Champions Cup on Wednesday in Miami between the winner of tomorrow’s match between Chelsea-Milan from MetLife Stadium in New York City.
Four. Juventus plays LA Galaxy tonight at 10:30pm ET from historic Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. In the United States, the match will be shown live on FOX Soccer.
The Cosmos story, while massive, is not the biggest today in American soccer. Across the country, almost 3,000 miles away the Seattle Sounders FC are poised to unveil Clint Dempsey as a “designated-player” signing. This represents the biggest signing Major League Soccer has made since David Beckham put pen to paper with the LA Galaxy in January 2007.
Dempsey had a stop-start season last year with Spurs but his willingness to forgo the Premier League where he has played the last six and a half seasons for Seattle speaks volumes as to the progression of MLS. When Dempsey left MLS, he showed desire bordering on petulance to force a move to what he felt was a “higher level” of football.
Today, in 2013 having just been named United States Captain he is willing to forgo that perceived “higher level” to be brand ambassador in the states while preparing for the 2014 World Cup. It is also highly significant that MLS is willing to break its own salary record for an American player. For years, the league has been less willing to pay American players fair market salaries as compared to their foreign counterparts who move to MLS.