Clint Dempsey will serve as captain of the U.S. National Team in the upcoming qualifiers with several senior teammates out of action.
Clint Dempsey will serve as captain of the U.S. National Team in the upcoming qualifiers with several senior teammates out of action.
Moises Castillo/AP

DENVER (AP) -- Clint Dempsey will be the U.S. captain for upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Costa Rica and Mexico.

Coach Jurgen Klinsmann says Wednesday he chose Dempsey because the striker "has been huge for us in World Cup qualifying so far." Dempsey leads the Americans with six goals in seven games in qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. He is second on the all-time U.S. list with 11 in 27 World Cup qualifiers.

The Americans needed a new captain after Klinsmann left longtime leader Carlos Bocanegra off the roster for Friday's game against Costa Rica and next Wednesday's match in Mexico. Bocanegra hasn't played in a game since Feb. 2, having lost his starting job with Racing Santander, a second-division Spanish team.

Dempsey has made 92 appearances for the U.S.

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