Head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has handed Michael Bradley the armband for this summer's Gold Cup in the wake of the Seattle Sounders forward's sending off in the US Open Cup last month.
Dempsey was speaking to US Soccer after scoring a chipped penalty in Friday night’s 4-0 friendly win over Guatemala in Nashville, Tennessee – his first game for the States since being stripped of the armband.
The 32-year-old forward, who has 113 US caps to his name, originally took over the captaincy from Carlos Bocanegra in March 2013 but has seen Bradley skipper the side for most of 2015 in his absence.
With the Toronto FC midfielder’s importance to the team and leadership qualities undisputed, Klinsmann has now opted to hand him the armband for the upcoming tournament to allow Dempsey the chance to focus on his playing duties.
The decision comes in the wake of an incident in the US Open Cup last month, when the Seattle Sounders ace was shown a red card after ripping up the referee’s notebook in extra-time of his side’s 3-1 defeat to Cascadia rivals Portland Timbers – an act which earned him a two-year ban from the competition.
Having discussed the issues with Klinsmann upon arriving in camp, Dempsey was quick to stress after the Guatemala win that he had no problem with the decision and reinforced his desire to help his teammates retain their Gold Cup title this month.
“It’s cool. Michael is a great leader,” he told US Soccer. “He deserves to be captain, and for me I’m just excited to be part of the team that is trying to push to win the Gold Cup and be a part of the Confederations Cup.
“I got to experience being captain during the World Cup, and for me that was something special and I’ll always remember it, but it’s never been a big thing for me to be captain. Even with my club team in Seattle I’m not the captain. For me it’s just about the team and just trying to win and win games and trying to do something special.”
Bradley, who also serves as captain for Toronto, skippered the US for the first time in March’s 3-2 defeat to Denmark, before leading them to back-to-back comeback victories over the Netherlands and Germany, respectively, last month.
The former Aston Villa and Roma midfielder has long-been earmarked as the side’s future captain and it would be no surprise if Klinsmann’s decision was the first step towards him being handed the role on a full-time basis.