United States football player Clint Dempsey is set to return for Major League Soccer side Seattle sounders as he has been cleared to return to the sport after a long-term injury layoff.

The former Premier League star has not played professional football since August after he underwent surgery to address a heart condition.

Dempsey was cleared to return after featuring in two pre season matches that went well. The 33-year old is close to regaining full fitness and ready to help when the team defends the MLS Cup it won last year. Sounders trounced Toronto in a penalty shootout, so they would be looking at defending their title this term.

a�?Right now the focus is getting through this year, playing again and making an impact on the field. The minutes will keep going up and Ia��ll keep pushing in training,a�? Dempsey said.

On his fitness level, he said: a�?I feel like Ia��m finally getting close: 85 percent, 90 percent back to full fitness. Whether ita��s the training staff here or in other places, everybody is one the same page of how I should be progressing. As of right now, everything is going great.a�?

On the international scene, Coach Bruce Arena has said that the player would not feature in the crucial games against Honduras and Panama.

a�?You take six or eight months away from the game, it takes you a while to get back. Ia��m just hopeful that when March comes around that he can be part of Seattlea��s plans in Major League Soccer and as he continues during the season, hopefully he can come back to the national team,a�? Arena posited.

Arena is taking no chance in the must-win games for United States in the World Cup qualifiers. The team slipped in the first two games but these next fixtures would largely determine their end.

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