Nacogdoches residents proud to call Clint Dempsey their own

Nacogdoches Native and U.S. Soccer Captain, Clint Dempsey. (Source: KTRE Staff)
Nacogdoches Native and U.S. Soccer Captain, Clint Dempsey. (Source: KTRE Staff)

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - He became a household name only moments after he scored the first goal in last night's World Cup game against Ghana, but here in East Texas he has been making headlines for some time.

The world knows him as the captain of the U.S. soccer team, but residents in Nacogdoches know Clint Dempsey as the little boy who had a dream to play professional soccer.

Family friend, Karen Swenson said she knew Dempsey would grow up to do great things.

"He was always very focused and very intense about soccer.It was more than just a game to him, Swenson said. "Even when he was little you could tell that he just couldn't get enough."

Swenson can remember the late nights on the soccer field watching her sons and Dempsey play until they couldn't play anymore.

"When you see someone that has been that driven and that focused, even as a young man, a very young man, a little boy that had dreams, it is very sweet to see that come to fruition in such a big way," Swenson said.

Dempsey began playing soccer on the very field that is now named the Clint Dempsey Soccer Complex off East Pilar Street in Nacogdoches.

From scoring his very first goal on that field as a little boy to being the first American to score the fastest goal in World Cup history, Dempsey has made his family and his town very proud.

In fact, the Liberty Bell restaurant has named a sandwich after him, calling it the Dempsey FC.

Former team mom and Dempsey family friend Patti Goodrum said his success can be credited to his dedicated and hard-working parents.

"They're the ones that believed in him from the very get go. They're the ones that drove him to Dallas from Nacogdoches three times a week since he was 10 years old to play in the classic league so he could be seen," Goodrum said.

Whether it was his parent's dedication or his focus, Dempsey has made a name for himself and made the people of Nacogdoches proud their town is Clint Dempsey's home town.

Now, despite Dempsey's broken nose, he will still lead his team into Sunday's game against Portugal.

Copyright 2014 KTRE. All rights reserved.