Clint Dempsey confident he will play for United States again

DALLAS -- ‎Seattle Sounders striker Clint Dempsey, who captained United States at the 2014 World Cup, says he believes he will play "more games" with the national team despite his unexpected omission from the squad that will begin 2018 World Cup qualifying next week.

In his first public comments since manager Jurgen Klinsmann decided to leave him out of the 23-man team that will contest United States' first two qualifiers, Dempsey told the "ESPN Soccer Today" radio show on KESN 103.3 FM in Dallas that he understands Klinsmann's call and does not believe it signals the end of his international career.

"I felt good with my return this year with the national team," Dempsey said. "I think I played in 10 games, scored nine goals. I've enjoyed my time playing for the country. I still think that there's some more games to be played.

"But at the same time, it's the travel of playing with the USA [that] takes a toll on your body. That's kind of what caused me to start getting some injuries at the beginning of this year. Especially that trip to Switzerland [in March] where I got off the plane and trained and picked up that [hamstring] injury.

"That kind of started my injuries off for this year because the year before that I didn't have one. So I just got to be smart about how I keep my body in top form and make sure that if I get called on again that I'll be able to go represent."

Dempsey, 32, has appeared in three World Cups and scored 48 goals for the national team, second only in U.S. history to Landon Donovan's 57.

But for next week's qualifiers at home to St. Vincent and the Grenadines on Friday in St. Louis and away to Trinidad and Tobago on Nov. 17, Klinsmann has called in three young strikers -- Bobby Wood, Gyasi Zardes and Stanford University junior Jordan Morris -- alongside veterans Jozy Altidore and Alan Gordon.

The selection of Gordon, in particular, raised eyebrows, given that the Los Angeles Galaxy striker is two years older than Dempsey at 34.

"At this point in time, I want to give the younger strikers a chance to prove themselves, and this is a good stage to do it," Klinsmann said Friday upon announcing his 23-man squad for the first two qualifiers. "I communicated with Clint about it and it's all fine."

In his "Soccer Today" appearance on the morning of Seattle's Western Conference playoff game in his native Texas against FC Dallas, Dempsey said: "He hit me up,‎ left a voicemail and a text. [It's‎] just‎ ‎kind of what he said in the press, that‎ we're going to go with younger strikers, ‎looking towards [that] they prove themselves for the future -- that at the end of the day he's the coach and‎ he's got to do what he thinks is best for the team going forward."

Asked about playing in a fourth World Cup at age 35 in 2018, Dempsey said: "It's kind of one of those things you just kind of take it year to year to see how your body's feeling and to see if you're playing well enough to get called in -- to make sure that you're doing what you need to do to get those looks in camp.

"If you're not playing well enough for your club, then you're probably not going to get those looks for country. And at the same time, if your body's not right, then you can't do anything there. So I just got to make sure that I'm focused, take care of my body, keep producing on the club level and we'll see where things go from there."

Dempsey's sensational free kick in the second half gave Seattle a 2-1 lead to take to Dallas for Sunday night's second leg of the teams' Western Conference semifinal series. U.S. national team training for the two upcoming qualifiers begins Monday in Miami.

United States enters the Friday night match in St. Louis having lost three consecutive games on home soil for the first time since 1997.