By Kevin Rutherford
U.S. soccer has been rising in popularity over the past few years, going from a minuscule amount of fans that paled in comparison to other countries’ rabid fan bases to a slightly more formidable following that still pales in comparison — only just a little less than before.
If that’s the case, then the possibility exists that you and others missed current U.S. men’s soccer captain Clint Dempsey take a brilliant sidestep into the music world. Luckily, YouTube is a wonderful resource.
For 2006’s World Cup, Dempsey and Nike Soccer partnered to create “Don’t Tread,” a song and accompanying music video that featured the soccer player as the main artist — under his rap name Deuce. Joined by fellow Texans Big Hawk (R.I.P.) and XO, Dempsey, then a 26-year-old rising star of U.S. soccer, took the reins as he and his cohorts rhymed about rising to the top from a working-class environment, with images of kids playing soccer in the streets informing the piece.
It’s easy to point and laugh — look, Dempsey’s trying to rap — but interestingly, some of the lyrics could very well apply to this year’s U.S. World Cup team.
“They hate,” Dempsey raps. “But we as a team have a phrase we say / When negativity comes our way / Don’t tread on this.” It’s perhaps indicative of the team Dempsey leads, which despite the impassioned support of its diehard fans is often looking down on by international markets due to the fact that, well, it’s the U.S. trying to compete in soccer against countries who live and die by the sport.
That being said, it’s good that Dempsey didn’t quit his day job and launch a rap career.
Make no mistake, though — he’s not the only U.S. soccer-affiliated person with a musical past. Consider retired ex-World Cup team member Alexi Lalas, who now works as a soccer TV analyst. The 44-year-old defender released an entire album of music called Ginger. If you’re not a soccer fan, you may not know Lalas, but you can now probably guess his hair color.
Dempsey and the U.S. World Cup squad plays their first match this Monday (June 16) against Ghana.