Hair Extensions and Mohawks at DCU
At some point in everyone's life, you start to feel like maybe you'd rather do something of more importance to the world than taking photos of local athletes' hair. Like scoop wood chips into garbage bags or something. For me, that point came about six years ago.
And yet here I was again this week, at D.C. United's final practice before leaving for Florida. Much of the roster has turned over, of course, and change was once again in the hair.
"09's all about change," said defender Devon McTavish, whose shaved head was, at best, the team's third most interesting offseason hair development.
You can start with Fred, the creative midfielder who showed up with a mohawk, or as he called it, a "mohicano."
"New style, why not?" he said. "I had it done in Brazil. My brothers did it, all four did the same."
"Love it," McTavish said. "It's fresh."
"I look like Robinho," Fred added.
"The same money," pointed out Luciano Emilio, comparing Fred with Robinho.
Speaking of Emilio, his hair was a bit more, let's say, unusual? In one offseason, he went from deck brush to kitchen mop.
"I have no reaction to that, no positive reaction to that," Ben Olsen said of Emilio's flowing, parted locks.
"He looks like the Brazilian James Brown," McTavish noted. He tried to tell Emilio as much, but the forward "didn't quite catch on," McTavish continued. "I don't think he knows who James Brown is."
Sure enough. So we showed Emilio some YouTube clips of James Brown; "I am more beautiful than he is," Emilio said.
As for his style, he said he had worn a similar look in the past, including during his time in Honduras.
"New year, new style," he explained. "I like change sometimes....I do extensions a lot," he added, through a translator.
Hold up, extensions?
"The hair is real," he said, "but it's not mine."
"No it is not. What??" Olsen said, when informed about the extensions. "I mean, yeah. Wow. I'm speechless. I know I've never played with a teammate with extensions....That's going to go right back to the locker room. It will be interesting to see how long he keeps it now."
As for my rapidly diminishing self-respect, Emilio told us that newspapers in Brazil do indeed cover footballers' hair styles, but only for the most famous players, "and I'm not one of those." And Olsen seemed to endorse a future moratorium on haircut reportage.
"We're less concerned with hair this year, hopefully, than we were last year," he said. "Beards, tattoos; you know, we're just trying to win this year, focus a little bit more on winning."
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