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Clint Mathis' retirement is official

mathis_1.jpg

A story that first broke here on the Insider two weeks ago became official today when Clint Mathis, one of the most colorful characters in American soccer history, announced his retirement. He will make his final appearance Saturday when the Los Angeles Galaxy plays Real Madrid at the Rose Bowl -- aptly, a big stage for a big personality.

"It has been an amazing and exciting ride, full of moments and people that will stay with me forever," he said. "I cannot thank everyone who has been a part of this journey with me enough for all that you have done to help me enjoy such a fulfilling life in the sport of soccer."

Knee injuries had taken their toll on Mathis, 33, who spent 11 of his 13 pro seasons in MLS and finished with 61 goals and 52 assists in 258 regular season matches. This year he appeared in nine league games, totaling 182 minutes. Last season, he started 24 times and had seven assists in helping Real Salt Lake win MLS Cup.

He holds the league record for goals in a game (five) as well as career red cards (nine). A native of Georgia nicknamed "Cletus," he was unpredictable and outspoken, fun and, at times, phenomenal. For the U.S. national team, he scored 12 times in 46 international matches, and at the 2002 World Cup, aside from his famed goal against South Korea, he will be remembered for the mohawk haircut.

Said Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena, who also guided Mathis with the national team and New York in MLS: "In his prime he was as good a goal scorer as our country has ever produced. We will miss Clint and are indebted to his contributions to MLS and U.S. soccer."

By Steve Goff  |  August 3, 2010; 6:10 PM ET
Categories:  MLS , U.S. men's national team  | Tags: Clint Mathis, Los Angeles Galaxy, MLS  
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Comments

The 5 goal game. The 2/3 field run as MetroTards. The beer kegs in his NYC apartment. "That's why he's here." Seems so long ago.

But I'll always remember best sitting a dozen rows up along the 18 on a frigid night in Columbus when he delivered some brilliant 40-yard service that led to Josh Wolff's open netter against Mexico back in the 2001 qually.

Wolff had replaced McBride after he picked up one of his many shiners, and Mathis came on for Reyna. Hammy or groin? Can't remember.

Posted by: benonthehill | August 3, 2010 7:18 PM | Report abuse

What's the waiting period for the Soccer Hall of Fame.

Cletus goes in on the first ballot. It's time they stopped enshrining players whose reputation was defined by US Soccer and started to add players defined by MLS.

Posted by: lgm6986 | August 3, 2010 7:32 PM | Report abuse

That goal against S. Korea is still the best goal scored by a US player at the WC ever. Well, since 1950, anyway. I did not see the goals scored in 1950 or before.

I agree with lgm6986 (didn't he post a negative comment once?) that he goes into the Hall of Fame on the first ballot. That's assuming that there still is a Hall of Fame.

Posted by: jack35 | August 3, 2010 7:48 PM | Report abuse

"That goal against S. Korea is still the best goal scored by a US player at the WC ever. Well, since 1950, anyway. I did not see the goals scored in 1950 or before."

It was pretty special, but it's close between him and Wynalda.

Posted by: grabowcp | August 3, 2010 7:52 PM | Report abuse

That goal against S. Korea is still the best goal scored by a US player at the WC ever. Well, since 1950, anyway. I did not see the goals scored in 1950 or before.

Posted by: jack35
------------------------------------------

It was a sweet goal (vs Korea @ WC 2002):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UfaAlXRl_So

Congrats on a fine career, Clint.

Posted by: PrinceBuster21 | August 3, 2010 8:07 PM | Report abuse

When he was healthy in the early 2000's, he was quite good. Great vision, a scorer, and competitor. I loved the attitude that he just didn't give a sh$t.

Posted by: Hoost | August 3, 2010 8:11 PM | Report abuse

If we had more like him, we'd be like, "What forward issue?" Gifted finishers with his swagger and defiant mental approach are in short supply in our country.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | August 3, 2010 8:31 PM | Report abuse

One of my first soccer memories is waking up early the summer before 7th grade, finding out we had a player from Georgia and being proud of that, and then seeing that Mohawk and loving him immediately. His goal was awesome, and I've loved being able to watch him play these last couple of years in MLS. Definitely my first favorite US soccer player.


Best of luck in retirement, but I hope it's not in the booth, as even I have a hard time understanding a word that dude says.

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | August 3, 2010 9:18 PM | Report abuse

There is no soccer hall of fame anymore. It is now a boarded-up warehouse with a phony ceremony.

Posted by: Ron16 | August 3, 2010 9:20 PM | Report abuse

There is no soccer hall of fame anymore. It is now a boarded-up warehouse with a phony ceremony.

Posted by: Ron16
------------------------------

The National Soccer Hall of Fame does exist, but the facility itself closed last year because of financial difficulties.

The Hall continues, and there is a 2010 class of inductees (Bruce Arena, Kyle Rote, Jr., Thomas Dooley and Preki).

Details: http://bit.ly/9dTgAC

What's phony about it, Ron?

Posted by: PrinceBuster21 | August 3, 2010 9:32 PM | Report abuse

Ron16 for the Soccer Insider Troll Hall of Fame!

Posted by: DadRyan | August 3, 2010 9:40 PM | Report abuse

His game-winning freekick at Honduras in the 2001 Hexagonal is one of my favorite moments in US Soccer history. Clint was an amazing, dynamic talent. It's too bad his time at the top was so short. Happy trails, Cletus!

Posted by: DWE4 | August 3, 2010 10:20 PM | Report abuse

When he was healthy Clint was a lock as a starter for the USMNT and as fine a talent as we have produced. He (and John O'Brien) had to go out too early. Clint, JOB, McHead, and now Donovan may have been the best we ever put on the pitch at the national level.

Posted by: b18bolo | August 3, 2010 11:43 PM | Report abuse

Clint, JOB, and McBride were the best USMNT players I ever saw, but only McBride had a long run. Injuries cut short the careers of O'Brien and Mathis. I think Mathis could have had the career Donovan is having now if he could have stayed healthy. There was talk about how he partied too hard, etc., but when I talked to him after a reserve match a few years ago he was as lean as a rail. Friendly, too. And I didn't think he was hard to understand at all, but then I'm married to a woman from Mississippi!

Posted by: b18bolo | August 3, 2010 11:49 PM | Report abuse

Clint, JOB, and McBride were the best USMNT players I ever saw, but only McBride had a long run. Injuries cut short the careers of O'Brien and Mathis. I think Mathis could have had the career Donovan is having now if he could have stayed healthy. There was talk about how he partied too hard, etc., but when I talked to him after a reserve match a few years ago he was as lean as a rail. Friendly, too. And I didn't think he was hard to understand at all, but then I'm married to a woman from Mississippi!

Posted by: b18bolo | August 3, 2010 11:50 PM | Report abuse

Clint Mathis doesn't deserve to be called great, or the best, or even mentioned in the same league as the top U.S. players. He was a spoiled brat that let his ego get to his head. He always thought he was better than he actually was . . it's really no wonder he failed in Europe

Posted by: delantero | August 4, 2010 12:15 AM | Report abuse

It was pretty special, but it's close between him and Wynalda.

When in doubt, gotta go with the one that comes from the run of play.

Posted by: BooThisMan | August 4, 2010 12:15 AM | Report abuse

benonthehill:

Groin.

I believe that is my favorite live game ever, even though I did also attend the USA-Jamaica game at the end of that cycle in which we qualified (came thisclose to catching Stewart's jersey when he threw it into the crowd).

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | August 4, 2010 2:26 AM | Report abuse

Someone please post his late goal, crotch grab and point at his wrist toward the coach for Hanover. Instant classic.

Had some great goals in Germany. After 2002 cup, Bayern wanted him, but something f'ed that up. Injury?

Posted by: RetiredShark | August 4, 2010 7:02 AM | Report abuse

What's the waiting period for the Soccer Hall of Fame.

Cletus goes in on the first ballot. It's time they stopped enshrining players whose reputation was defined by US Soccer and started to add players defined by MLS.

Posted by: lgm6986 | August 3, 2010 7:32 PM
================


If we had more like him, we'd be like, "What forward issue?" Gifted finishers with his swagger and defiant mental approach are in short supply in our country.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | August 3, 2010 8:31 PM
=====================

+1 for both.

Posted by: Rand-al-Thor | August 4, 2010 7:48 AM | Report abuse

PrinceBuster21, and Hechinger (the DC area lumberyard) still exists, too. One of their stores is in Woodbridge. There is another in Fredericksburg. Sign is still there. Except it closed years ago. And all their other stores are closed, too

So here we have a supposed "Soccer Hall of Fame" up there in Oneonta New York. Closed, boarded up, cobwebs and dust everywhere, chain-link fenced, graffiti'd. Displaced junkyard dogs patrolling the abandonded grounds, snarling at passersby.

But, I suppose, the inductees will get a nice certificate. Or something. Maybe they still get to have a shoebox of memorabilia sent up there so it can gather dust there instead of in their closet. Who knows.

OK, maybe the stuff about graffitti and the junkyard dogs is a little tongue in cheek, but the point is an ignored building in Oneonta is NOT a Hall of Fame. It is just an abandoned building with stuff in it with the lights out. A "Hall" that is not open to the public ain't much of a Hall.

Move the thing to Chicago, or some other central location that can be visited by someone other than caribou. And scale it back, or otherwise make it financially viable so that there is SOMETHING for the public to visit. Heck, even make the whole thing a WEBSITE if you want.

But an obscure, dark warehouse in Oneonta NY hardly qualifies as a real "Hall of Fame".

Posted by: Ron16 | August 4, 2010 7:54 AM | Report abuse

Cletus. What could have been...

Thanks for what you managed to do and for providing MLS and US Soccer with a likeable "good ole boy" persona who kept "it real". Clint was like US Soccer's equivalent of John Dailey, minus the rehab, the country CD's and the wife who got him in trouble with the feds and took all his money...

Much love, Georgia peachfuzz.

Posted by: yankiboy | August 4, 2010 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Goal.com -- and we know how reliable they are -- reporting that Jozy is going to Besiktas.

Posted by: Reignking | August 4, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Twitter says Onolfo sacked! Benny new head coach!

Posted by: JkR- | August 4, 2010 9:19 AM | Report abuse

wow! mlsnet.com says that the Curt Onalfo era in DC is over!

Posted by: foul_throw | August 4, 2010 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Hechinger still exists? In Woodbridge? You mean what is now a commuter parking lot?

Posted by: Reignking | August 4, 2010 9:21 AM | Report abuse

JkR- was 1st to report. I confirm!!!

VAMOS Ben...VAMOS United!!!

http://www.dcunited.com/

Posted by: 9Nine9 | August 4, 2010 9:25 AM | Report abuse

dcunited.com confirms it.

Wow.

Posted by: Reignking | August 4, 2010 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Clint's cavalier attitude really wasn't that bad, compared with other professional athletes. I think it part and parcel of the talented striker psyche. Whenever he stepped on the field for the USA, it made us pay more attention and hold our breath for things to happen.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | August 4, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Dear Ben,
Watch your back.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | August 4, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

@I-270Exit1,

Thanks. Will do.

Posted by: benonthehill | August 4, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Heck, even make the whole thing a WEBSITE if you want.

Posted by: Ron16 | August 4, 2010 7:54 AM
_________________________________________

Isn't that precisely what they have now?

And how does any of this make a ceremony "phony' (to use your term)? The people who are being inducted this year qualified in the same way as all who preceded them. The disposition of a piece of real estate in Oneonta has no bearing on the issue.

Posted by: universityandpark | August 4, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

I remember Clint when he played for the Lightning Soccer Club down in Fayetteville. Ga. as a teen. We were in Houston for a regional tournament and he walked up to one of the female player's on the club and pointed at the bottom of her shoe and asked if she was going to eat the gum stuck to it. She said "no" so he pried it off, stuck it in his pocket and walked out of the restaurant. Funny and very talented.

Posted by: Rjohnsto1 | August 6, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

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