I have a feeling that I am not the only American that started to support Fulham because of Dempsey. He introduced me to a club that felt like the perfect fit for me. I never wanted to support one of the top six clubs. I wanted a club that played together as a "team" and had history. Dempsey introduced me to a club that had both.
In the beginning, Dempsey was just another player at Fulham, and really had to earn his place. That was great for me, because it forced me to appreciate the entire club, and truly become a supporter.
His development as a player over several seasons ran parallel with the growth of Fulham. Both Dempsey and Fulham would see tough times, but in time they would also experience truly special moments over the course of several seasons.
There were many special moments during Dempsey's time with the club, but the moment that will stand out for me was his chip against Juventus in the 2009-2010 season. This goal catapulted Fulham into the next round of the tournament. Fulham would eventually get all the way to the Europa League Final.
Dempsey's development as a player was at its height in the 2011-2012 season, as he scored 23 goals in all competitions. Dempsey scored 50 League goals in his time with the club.
The issue I had with Dempsey had to deal with how he left the club to go to Tottenham Hotspur after the 2011-2012 season. I was upset that he left with a year still to go on his contract.
Dempsey moved from Spurs to the Seattle Sounders last summer, and then returned to Fulham on loan for the past two months. The loan was not successful on the pitch for Dempsey, but I gained a good amount of respect for him, because he came back to a club where he really developed as footballer.
Now that Dempsey is returning to Seattle, I can really look back at what Dempsey gave me personally. Without Dempsey moving to Fulham, I probably would not have become a supporter.
I have given this some serious thought, and I feel Dempsey deserves someday to be in the same category that Brian McBride has entered with the supporters which is a Fulham legend. His time was special with the club, and should not be forgotten.
I wish Dempsey the best in the future with the Seattle Sounders, and the United States Men's National Team. If I ever had the chance to meet Dempsey in person, I would shake his hand and say "thank you".