It certainly has been a whirlwind 1 1/2 years for New England Revolution midfielder Clint Dempsey.
Since being selected by the Revs in the first round of the 2004 Major League Soccer SuperDraft, the 22-year-old Dempsey's star has been on the rise and then some:
He quickly became a regular in the New England lineup, collected seven goals and one assist, and earned rookie-of-the-year honors, despite missing more than a month with a broken jaw.
He made his first National Team appearance against Jamaica last October.
He was called up by the U.S. National Team and played in the 2-1 World Cup qualifying win over Trinidad & Tobago on February 9.
He scored his first international goal in a 2-1 friendly loss to England on May 28.
He was second among midfielders, only to San Jose Earthquakes star Landon Donovan, in voting for the MLS all-star game.
He had been involved in more goals13than any other player on the strength of his six goals and seven assists for the first-place Revs in the Eastern Conference, through late June.
And it seems the best is yet to come.
Dempsey's career has been defined by patience, persistence, and even sacrifice, going back to when he played youth soccer in Nacogdoches, Texas.
He began playing for a team called the Strikers in kindergarten.
"I'd be the kid who scored the goals for the team," Dempsey said. "When they got comfortable with the lead, they put me in goal so we wouldn't run up the score too bad."
Dempsey began to get serious about soccer when he was 10 year’s old, after hearing about a tryout for a Dallas Longhorns youth soccer club. The tryout was a three-hour drive away. As it turned out, Dempsey was late for the tryout.
"OK, it's not meant to be," he said. "Let's go home."
However, it was meant to be. The coach called back. He told Dempsey's parents, "I really want to see your son play. For someone who is willing to drive three hours, I want to see what kind of player he is."
Dempsey earned a spot on the team.
U.S. national coach Bruce Arena sees a lot of potential in the 6-foot-1, 170-pound Dempsey.
"In all fairness to Clint, he is in about his 16th or 17th month being a professional soccer player," he said. "Therefore, he is still a little bit inexperienced. We saw last year in MLS he obviously had an excellent season and was rookie of the year, and this year he has started off great.
"He is a player with a lot of ability and a lot of talent, and as he gets more exposure to the international game, he is only going to get better for the National Team as well as MLS."