Clint Dempsey open to super-sub role for United States at 2018 World Cup

Clint Dempsey said he would be open to a super-sub role off the bench for the United States at the 2018 World Cup if that's what the team asked of him.

Dempsey, 33, was back to his best for the U.S. at the Copa America Centenario, scoring three goals for the Americans as the team reached the semifinals only to lose to Argentina and then Colombia in the third-placed match to finish fourth.

By the time the World Cup in Russia rolls around, though, Dempsey will be 35, and he admits he would be willing -- and possibly forced -- to be used as a substitute.

"Yeah, I could do that," Dempsey told Colin Cowherd on FS1. "It would be tough, but at the same time you have to look at it in the right way.

"You have to say, 'All right, if I do play, am I fit enough that I can go 90 minutes nonstop?'" Dempsey said. "Or is it, 'Do I put in a 60-minute shift, 70-minute shift and get subbed? Or do you come on maybe later in the game when everybody's tired and try to get goals?

"So being a goalscorer, that does appeal to me, that I could come on in a game and change it. I would be open to it."

Dempsey added that it was an honour to represent his country in any capacity, having done so 131 times, scoring 52 goals, just five behind the all-time mark for the U.S. set by Landon Donovan.

"[I've] been able to play in three different World Cups," Dempsey said. "That would be nice to be able to say that you were in a fourth. Not a lot of people can say that."

The one-time U.S. captain also talked about youth development and player identification, underscoring some of the challenges and opportunities that exist for up-and-coming soccer players in the States.

Asked if "pay-to-play" scenarios for youths was a detriment to kids whose families couldn't afford expensive travelling teams, Dempsey said: "I think so. I think that's fair. Especially if you're trying to play club ball.

"To some of the clubs' credit, they do have scholarships, they have players they help in being able to deal with the fees. I was lucky enough to play for a club that helped me with that.

"It's difficult for kids to get that right type of coaching, get that development. And if you're growing up in a small town, really all you have is the recreational league that you can play in, the high-school team that you can hopefully play for, play in men's league, Hispanic leagues on the weekends, and hope that someone can see you there."