Sounders FC forward Clint Dempsey is featured on the cover of one of Sports Illustrated’s World Cup preview issues unveiled Tuesday.
The cover shows Dempsey draped in a United States flag. The national team captain appears on one of four SI covers, while the others show Lionel Messi of Argentina, Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal and Luis Suarez of Uruguay.
Dempsey becomes the first Sounder featured on the hallowed SI cover.
“It’s hard to measure, but for sure it raises the profile of the club, and that ultimately I assume sells tickets and sponsorships and TV ratings,” Sounders general manager Adrian Hanauer said. “And so absolutely that’s part of the bigger picture.”
In 2010, Dempsey shared the SI cover with national team members Landon Donovan and Tim Howard. Hope Solo of the University of Washington and currently with Seattle Reign FC appeared in 2011.
Earlier this year, Seattle Mariners second baseman appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated’s baseball preview issue. The Seattle Seahawks also were featured before and after winning the Super Bowl — but Sounders coach Sigi Schmid noted Tuesday that a World Cup is a much bigger event.
“Unless you’re there, you really don’t know how big an event is it,” he said. “No offense to Seattle Seahawks and the Super Bowl, but it’s the Super Bowl times 10.”
Dempsey will experience his third World Cup and Yedlin his first starting next week when the U.S. team heads to Brazil after its final friendly tune-up against Nigeria at 3 p.m. Saturday in Jacksonville, Florida.
The USA moved to 2-0 in its Send-off Series with a 2-1 win over Turkey on Sunday in New Jersey.
Dempsey started and scored the winning goal in that one, while Yedlin came on in the second half.
Below is some of Schmid’s take on the play of Clint Dempsey, DeAndre Yedlin and the whole United States nation team in their 2-1 win over Turkey on Sunday.
“I thought Clint played well. I thought he was very good in the first 45 minutes. He gives, I think, the U.S. team a creativity that without him on the field is not necessarily present – especially in that position. I don’t know what Jurgen’s plans are if Clint can’t play because Wondolowski is a different type of forward, Johannsson is a different type of forward. Clint, I think through his time here especially when he’s played more of an out-and-out forward than he did maybe at Fulham, I think that helped him. So I thought he looked sharp.
“I thought DeAndre – after he got rid of that first pass – I think after that it was pretty good. He’s still learning, he’s still growing; his eyes are open. Once he gets into Brazil it will be a whole different feeling.
“They’re staying in San Paulo. I don’t know if they’re actually living at the training complex or in a hotel at San Paulo, so they’re going to feel the ambience of the World Cup. Unless you’re there, you really don’t know how big an event is it. No offense to Seattle Seahawks and the Super Bowl, but it’s the Super Bowl times 10. It’s just a whole different feeling.”