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CLINT DEMPSEY Midfielder/forward Career stats: Caps 71, Goals

CLINT DEMPSEY
Midfielder/forward
Career stats: Caps 71, Goals 19

Clint Dempsey of Fulham fights for the ball with Lucas of Liverpool during the Barclays Premier League match between Fulham and Liverpool at Craven Cottage. (May 9, 2011) Photo Credit: Getty Images

 Top-notch European soccer returns in a big way this weekend with the Bundesliga (Germany), Ligue 1 (France) and Eredivisie (Netherlands) all looking to break up those logjams at the top of the table -- or the bottom, if you're a glass half empty kind of guy.

The continent's other top leagues will begin in the coming weeks with the Premiership (England) starting Aug. 13, La Liga (Spain) starting Aug. 21 and Serie A (Italy) Aug. 27. Some clubs will be looking to hoist another trophy while others hope to simply stave off relegation.

Many of the United States' top players earn a living overseas, which is why I built a map a year ago that features several of them. Wednesday, I updated the map to reflect some off-season moves. Check it out here. I'll be adding to it in the coming weeks.

The top leagues' defending champs (and the runner-up):

EPL -- Manchester United (Chelsea)
La Liga -- Barcelona (Real Madrid)
Bundesliga -- Borussia Dortmund (Bayer Leverkusen)
Serie A -- AC Milan (Inter Milan)
Ligue 1 -- Lille (Marseille)
Eredivisie -- Ajax (FC Twente)
Portuguese Liga -- Porto (Benfica)
SPL -- Rangers (Celtic)

Pictured: Fulham's Clint Dempsey, right, is perhaps the most accomplished U.S. player in Europe right now. The Cottagers open the EPL season Aug. 13 against Aston Villa. 

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