(born November 25
) is a soccer forward
who currently plays for Real Salt Lake
Clint Mathis was on the cover of Backyard Soccer 2004.
Mathis was a native of Conyers, Georgia in Rockdale County. He played club soccer first at a young age for Rockdale Youth Soccer Association alongside the former standout Tucker Irwin and then for AFC Lightning, a Georgia powerhouse producing players such as current US international Ricardo Clark, in Fayetteville one hour from Conyers. He played school ball for Heritage High School, a state Champion, where they were a top side in national rankings.
Mathis played college soccer at the University of South Carolina and was drafted sixth overall by the Los Angeles Galaxy in the first round of the 1998 MLS College Draft. He earned his first cap for the US national team on November 6, 1998, against Australia. After two and a half years with Los Angeles, Mathis was awarded to the MetroStars in the dispersal draft after the Galaxy signed Mexican forward Luis Hernández.
Mathis immediately took his game to a new level, flashing an "I ♥ NY
" shirt after scoring goals and breaking the MLS record by scoring five goals in a game against the Dallas Burn
on August 26
. He finished second in the league in scoring with 16 goals and 14 assists and was named to the MLS Best XI
2001 saw Mathis score seven goals in his first six games, including the league's eventual Goal of the Year on a half-field run against Dallas. He was also a contributor for the United States national team in the early stages of World Cup qualifying, scoring the game-winning goal against Honduras and setting up Josh Wolff's game-winning goal against Costa Rica. He is also on the cover of ESPN MLS Extratime 2002. In June, he tore his ACL, which ended his season.
In 2002, Mathis became the first male soccer player in eight years to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated in its World Cup preview issue. At the 2002 FIFA World Cup, Mathis shaved his hair into a mohawk and scored a goal in the United States' 1-1 draw with South Korea. He never recovered his pre-injury form and scored only 13 goals in his remaining two seasons with the MetroStars.
After the 2002 MLS season and the World Cup, elite German club Bayern Munich attempted to acquire Mathis but was blocked by MLS. Mathis was furious and played poorly for the rest of his time in MLS. In 2004, Mathis left the MetroStars to sign on a free transfer with Hannover 96 of the German Bundesliga. He finished his Metro career with 33 goals in league play and 39 in all competitions, both marks second-best in team history to Giovanni Savarese.
Mathis played well in his first season in Germany. He scored in his debut. He scored 4 goals in his first 5 games. But his Hannover coach was fired and replaced. And in his second Bundesliga season the coach kept him often on the bench. On September 25, 2004 upon entering a game as a very late substitute and scoring almost immediately the game-winning goal, Mathis ran to the sideline and tapped his watch at the new Hannover coach, Ewald Lienen
. Mathis started the next game but afterwards never played with the first team again. In December he was transferred back to MLS, joining expansion club Real Salt Lake
Mathis said he returned to fulfill a promise made to RSL head coach John Ellinger. His only season in Utah was a major disappointment, as Mathis only scored three goals (all three were named MLS Goal of the Week). In December 2005, he was traded to Colorado in exchange for Jeff Cunningham.
Back in New York
On March 29, 2007, Mathis was traded from the Colorado Rapids
to Red Bull New York
for a fourth-round draft pick in 2008 and a conditional pick in 2009. In his first home game, he notched a goal and an assist to lead New York to a 3-0 rout of FC Dallas
. As of May 6, 2007, the MetroStars/Red Bull franchise is 23-0-2 when Mathis scores. Clint is currently the franchise's All-Time leading scorer in all competitions with 45 goals. He was traded to the Los Angeles Galaxy
on November 19
for a third round pick in the 2008 MLS SuperDraft
. He made his debut for the Galaxy in a friendly at Telstra Stadium
against Sydney FC
in front of 80,000 fans. He scored the first goal in the Galaxy's match versus Wellington Phoenix
In January 2008, during the European transfer window he left the Galaxy, signing with in Greece
. Ergotelis, sitting at the bottom of the table in the Greek First Division. Playing in a recent match, and down 2-1, Ergotelis manager used Mathis who made his debut at the club as his team's third substitute in the 72 minute. In the 91 minute of stoppage time down a goal, the ball popped to Mathis outside the box and he struck a powerful left footed volley that the keeper could only deflect into the back of the net, earning a crucial point against fellow relegation battlers Apollon Kalamarias
Return to Real Salt Lake
Real Salt Lake signed Mathis in August, 2008. They traded a 3rd or 4th round draft pick in the 2010 Superdraft (depending on appearances) to retain his rights from Los Angeles Galaxy.