Clint Dempsey has been given a resounding seal of approval from the stars of soccer's most successful nation as he attempts to take his career to a new level.
The United States forward enjoyed a superb season with English Premier League side Fulham, finishing fourth in the voting for the league's player of the year award, and likely will move to a bigger club.
His destination should be resolved over the summer, with Arsenal and Liverpool among the interested parties, but this week Dempsey is focused on trying to recover from a groin complaint in time for the USA to face five-time World Cup winner Brazil in a friendly at FedEx Field in Washington, D.C.
It will be the fifth time the USA has played Brazil since 2007, but whereas once the South American superstars may have only have had a vague appreciation for Dempsey's abilities, he is an unknown quantity no longer.
"I know a lot about Dempsey," said Brazil striker Hulk, who currently plies his trade with Portuguese club Porto but could move to Chelsea for a fee in excess of $60 million before the start of the new season. "I follow a lot of English football, but he is known around the world too for his skill and his passion. He is good enough to play anywhere, for any club. If you can be one of the best players in England, it says a lot about you."
Over the past five years Dempsey has blossomed into one of the most productive players in the EPL and has won the respect of opponents and audiences alike with his no-nonsense, physical style, combined with a sharp eye for goal.
His efforts helped Fulham to a respectable ninth-place finish, but even its staunchest fans appreciate that he has outgrown the club and will seek a fresh adventure, even though there is a year left on his contract.
Dempsey admitted as much this week, stating his understandable desire to play at the highest level as coach Jurgen Klinsmann's Americans prepared for the Brazil clash.
"I want to play Champions League," Dempsey said. "Hopefully that is in the cards for me. It has been a dream of mine since I was a kid."
The USA has won five straight and totally reversed its form since the difficult early days of Klinsmann's reign. The last of those, a 5-1 victory over a depleted Scotland in Jacksonville on Saturday, looked great on paper and featured a Landon Donovan hat trick and a highlight reel strike from Michael Bradley. Taking on the might of Brazil, however, will reveal a lot more. A shock win here, and the buoyant mood under Klinsmann will move into overdrive.
Brazil is not entirely at ful strength but still has a high-quality squad, as would be expected from a nation with such outstanding soccer pedigree. Neymar, the team's young rising star, has never played for a club outside his homeland, yet even he knew the potential danger posed by Dempsey.
"Dempsey is strong and he is difficult to defend," Neymar said. "He is a player to be careful of and we know what he can do."
Dempsey's performances over the course of the season took place all over England, but he is quickly finding that is reputation has spread across the globe.
Other popular content on Yahoo! Sports:
• Adrian Wojnarowski: LeBron James laughs at Kevin Garnett in Heat's Game 1 win
• Jeff Passan: Roy Halladay's doc visit could spell doom for Phillies
• Tim Brown: Los Angeles Angels' Torii Hunter puts family first after crisis
• Kevin Iole: Boxer Paul Williams draws on fighting spirit in face of paralysis
• Martin Rogers: Explosive documentary heightens racism fears ahead of Euro 2012