NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - It is the end of an era for not only major league soccer player but for the Nacogdoches residents who have cheered their hometown hero on.
Clint Dempsey announced he is retiring from the Seattle Sounders and the U.S. Men's National Team effective immediately.
The soccer superstar is tied with Landon Donovan for the most goals scored of all time at 57.
He posted on Facebook earlier today a simple message saying quote, Thank you, it's been real" with several photos of him throughout his soccer career, including the time he spent on some east Texas fields.
Dempsey's former high school soccer coach Fashid Niroumand said he was not surprised by the announcement due to Dempsey's injuries.
"It is gratifying to see he met his childhood dream to play professional and go beyond and play professional abroad. But no, I was not surprised. I thought it would be at the end of the MLS season."
The former coach added, "He's been playing since he was 5 or 6 years old. There's been a lot of wear and tear, especially the way he plays with his heart, his passion. He's been abused a lot."
The coach knows retirement for such a devoted player will be an adjustment.
"Fortunately, he has a lot of hobbies, fishing and hunting, and he has three kids and a good wife, and his family lives in Nacogdoches. His wife's family is in South Carolina, so he'll probably split his time here and there, but mostly I imagine he'll be in Nacogdoches."
Dempsey said after a lot of thought he and his family decided now was the best time to step away from the game.
He played professionally for 15 years.