Top 10: Mathis' most memorable moments
Throughout an illustrious 13-year professional career – 11 of those in MLS – Clint Mathis has had quite a few memorable moments, from which the following 10 stand out the most:
1. Signs for MetroStars
After two-and-a-half seasons with LA, who had selected him in the first round of the 1998 SuperDraft, Mathis was traded to the New York area, where he showed his appreciation for his new club by flashing an "I ♥ NY" shirt whenever he scored. In his first year for the MetroStars, he was named to the MLS Best XI after finishing the season with 16 goals and 14 assists.
2. Breaks MLS record for goals scored in a single game
In the MetroStars' 8-1 walloping of the then-Dallas Burn on Aug. 26, 2000, Mathis tallied an outrageous five goals, which remains a record to this day.
3. Earns 2001 MLS Goal of the Year
Mathis was not done punishing Dallas. Just eight months after pounding five goals past the Burn, Mathis collected the ball in his own half before running 70 yards past flailing defenders and driving his shot into the net. The goal was a nominee for MLS Goal of the Decade, too.
4. Moves to Europe
Having missed out on a dream move to German giants Bayern Munich, a disappointed Mathis joined Bundesliga side Hannover 96 on a free transfer. He went on to score on his debut, and he netted four goals in his first five games for Die Roten.
5. Scores in 2000 All-Star Game
In the midst a stunning season with New York, it didn't take long for Mathis to confirm his All-Star caliber in the 2000 summer classic in Columbus, Ohio. Just 106 seconds after kickoff, Mathis—who was more than a hint offside—poked home the games opener en route to the East's 9-4 (no, that's not a typo) rout of the West.
6. Dons the cover of Sports Illustrated
At a time when simply appearing within the pages SI was considered a coup for soccer players, Mathis, along with the coverline "America's Best," made the front cover of the magazine's 2002 World Cup edition. That would be the last time fans would see him without a Mohawk for some weeks.
7. Scores in 2002 World Cup vs. South Korea
Sporting a Mohawk, Mathis fired home a go-ahead goal to help the Yanks earn a 1-1 tie with the host nation. The striker's inclusion on the US roster wasn't without controversy, so the goal helped inspire the now-famous call from commentator Jack Edwards, "That's why he's here!"
8. Scores on his Ergotelis debut
In January 2008, Mathis joined Greek Superliga side Ergotelis, who were rooted to the bottom of the table and facing relegation. Making his debut as a late sub in a match against fellow strugglers Apollon Kalamarias, Mathis fired home a stoppage-time volley to earn his side a last-gasp point. Ergotelis managed to avoid the drop that year.
9. Buries PK to earn an MLS championship
Mathis lifted his first—and only—MLS Cup in 2009 as a bit player for Real Salt Lake, but the circumstances couldn't have been sweeter. Having entered the match early for the injured Javier Morales, Mathis got a chance to go up against the club he'd previously played for in two separate stints. After the game finished in a 1-1 tie, Mathis converted the first PK of the shootout to help RSL win the trophy.
10. Returns to LA for third time
In January of 2010, in a draft-day trade with RSL, the Galaxy brought Mathis back for a third-and-final stint at the club. "I've always said I wanted to end my career where I started," Mathis told the Los Angeles Times. "That doesn't always happen. People have wishes that don't always come true, but hopefully this is the last place I go." His wish, ultimately, was fulfilled.