Gwendolyn Oxenham in The Atlantic.
Before Tim Howard stops trending on Twitter, I wanted to make sure you saw this awesome piece she did on Ryan Dempsey, USMNT star Clint Dempsey’s brother. Hands down my favorite of the tournament so far.
When he graduated, whatever opportunities he’d once had in soccer were gone. Like most players, he had to find something else to do with his life. Which isn’t all that easy to do when you’ve grown up playing, watching, and hoping about one thing. “It wasn’t that I didn’t have a backup plan,” Ryan says. “I didn’t have a backup passion.”
Nowadays Ryan works a 50-hour-a-week job—“It’s pretty much the most boring thing in the world to talk about.” But he’s quit trying to replace his passion. A job is just a job, while futbol is who he is, even if he never made it as far as he wanted. When the workday is up, he does what he’s been doing his whole life: He heads to the field. He is one more middle-aged guy playing for nothing on dirt, still the blanco surrounded by guys from Honduras, Mexico, and Panama.