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Clint Dempsey, former US men's national team captain, retires from soccer

In this June 16, 2014, file photo, United

In this June 16, 2014, file photo, United States' Clint Dempsey celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the group G World Cup soccer match between Ghana and the United States at the Arena das Dunas in Natal, Brazil. Credit: AP/Ricardo Mazalan

SEATTLE — Former U.S. national team captain and Seattle Sounders striker Clint Dempsey has announced his retirement, effective immediately.

In a statement issued Wednesday by the Sounders, the 35-year-old Dempsey said he believes it's the right time to step away from the game.

Dempsey is tied with Landon Donovan as the greatest U.S. goal scorer, scoring 57 international goals in 141 appearances. He captained the U.S. in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil when the Americans reached the knockout stage before losing to Belgium in the round of 16.

Dempsey had a decorated career overseas in England, most notably with Fulham, before returning to MLS in 2013 with the Sounders. He missed the second half of the 2016 season with a heart condition that put his career in jeapordy, but returned to Seattle the next season after being cleared by doctors. Dempsey was the MLS Comeback Player of the Year last season when he again became the leading scorer for the Sounders and reclaimed a place on the U.S. national team.

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