Captain America

In a small trailer park in Nowheresville, Texas, Clint Dempsey kicked around a tattered ball with his bare feet on the dirt field of his grandparents’ backyard. Hardship, loss, and sacrifice — those were what he knew. The massive chip on his shoulder helped him learn to dominate the pitch all over the Lone Star State. Raised in poverty, he took his modest beginnings all the way to a $9 million contract for Tottenham Hotspur, redefining achievement in American soccer. Captain of the American soccer team during the 2014 World Cup, Clint Dempsey was the super-soldier leading his troops into battle on the world stage.

Not even thirty seconds had ticked away on the clock in the team’s first match against Ghana. Dempsey controlled the ball just at the cusp of the attacking third, and was swarmed by two Ghanaian players. As he felt the footsteps of the opposition rapidly approaching, Dempsey delivered the ball towards midfield to his teammate, DaMarcus Beasley. Without hesitation, Dempsey began sprinting closer towards the goal, shedding the two players who rushed him earlier with effortless ease.

As soon as he accepts the pass from Dempsey, Beasley rockets the ball to Jermaine Jones. Jones immediately returns the ball to the deft feet of Clint Dempsey, who had now penetrated the penalty box. An opportunity like this rarely presents itself. Dempsey, flashily nutmegged the remaining defender with just one man to beat — the goalie. Dempsey fired the ball at the goal, and it ricocheted off of the goalpost and into the back of the net as the clock struck thirty seconds.

It only took thirty seconds. It was the fifth fastest score in the entire history of the World Cup. The captain of the United States team became the first American to score in three separate World Cups. He never forgot his humble east Texas roots — from rags to riches, he was the living American Dream. He was Captain America.