Nacogdoches native and World Cup team captain Clint Dempsey took just 30 seconds to make a statement, scoring a goal in the team's opening game, a 2-1 win over Ghana. The U.S. considered the Ghana game a "must win" for their group.
ESPN reports the score against Ghana was the fastest World Cup goal in US history.
Nacogdoches High School soccer coach, Farshid Niroumand, coached Dempsey while he was a student at Nacogdoches.
Niroumand said Dempsey's early goal was perfectly played.
"Obviously it was very exciting however, as a coach you want to see what happened on the rerun," said Niroumand. "He adjusted himself to the ball perfectly and if you watch it, he stepped over the ball without stopping or slowing the ball down, he made the adjustment, then cut to the right, then cut to the left, and finished with the left foot. I was very impressed."
"In every major tournament I just try to step up for the team and I was glad I was able to do that today," said Dempsey, in an interview with ESPN.
Dempsey is the first American to score in three different World Cups.
About 35 minutes into the half, Dempsey received a kick to the nose and had to leave the game until the bleeding stopped.
His broken nose wouldn't keep Dempsey off the field. This was no surprise to Niroumand who said nothing kept him off the field before.
"That's Clint Dempsey. Even when he was in high school if he was injured or had some difficulties he wouldn't tell me. Sometimes other players said, 'Hey coach, Clint is hurt'", said Niroumand. "He wants to be in the game, he wants to be a key player, he wants to be there and he wants to be a major part of every game."
"I think I broke my nose. I couldn't even breathe out my nose so I was getting tired," said Dempsey in an interview with ESPN.
Also suffering from an injury was USA start forward Jozy Altidore. He was carried off early in the first half with a strained hamstring.
"Your heart goes out to him because he's been working so hard and looking so sharp," said Dempsey in an interview with ESPN. "He's a big part of our team, but hopefully he'll recover soon."
In the 82nd minute, Ghana tied the game at 1.
In the 86th minute, US came back with a header from John Brooks to take a 2-1 lead.
"I think this win will give us some confidence and give us a boost going into next game," said Dempsey in an interview with ESPN.
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