- Rep. Duncan Hunter: While Obama prays for Iranian change, U.S. should ready its nukes
- Best company ever? Veteran Beer Co. exists to employ vets, provide quality beer
- Iran official: Sanctions ‘utterly failed’ to stop nuclear program
- ‘Black Santa’ display at IU sparks student outrage
- Joint Chiefs chair Dempsey: Pentagon, VA too slow in merging medical systems
- Sen. Ben Cardin hits Ukraine for crackdown on Kiev protests
- Drone technology turns South, targets feral pigs to kill
- Puerto Rico caravan honoring Paul Walker ends in 6 drunken-driving arrests, 72 speeding tickets
- Better pack a lightsaber: House told space explorers could find alien life in 10 years
- Selfies gone too far? N.Y. woman snaps photo in front of suicidal man on bridge
ON SOCCER: Mathis a Real presence
Question of the Day
Let’s be honest - American soccer needs more players like Clint Mathis.
Mathis isn’t the best player to compete in Major League Soccer or the most talented player to wear the U.S. jersey, but he sure brings charisma and a unique character to the game.
It’s hard to categorize the Real Salt Lake midfielder, who has been a free spirit throughout his playing days. Mathis, a 10-year veteran of MLS, has been labeled a lot of things: cocky, eccentric, flamboyant, wild, unpredictable, outspoken, hothead, underachiever, brilliant.
His career has seen some dramatic swings - his game looked washed up for a while, but suddenly Mathis is back in the news.
On Saturday, Mathis faces his old club, the New York Red Bulls, in the Western Conference final at Rio Tinto Stadium, Salt Lake’s new soccer-specific stadium, in what is the biggest game in the history of both teams. With a win, Real Salt Lake goes to the MLS Cup final to face the Columbus Crew on Nov. 23.
Family, faith and time have mellowed the 31-year-old native of Conyers, Ga. In August, the well-traveled Mathis returned to Real Salt Lake, where he has yet to score a goal in 11 games. Still, he has made an impact: When Mathis is on the field, his team wins.
“He’s a player I’m comfortable to be with, and I know what he brings to the table,” Real coach Jason Kreis said. “He brings a lot of veteran leadership.”
The team has gone 4-0-4 in games Mathis started.
“He brings a lot of calm in pressure situations,” Kreis said. “He’s a player that wants the ball no matter what kind of game it is.”
Mathis has turned into a mature and wise player. He has the ability to hold the ball and thread long, precise passes. His coach is happy with his work on defense, too.
There always has been a certain swagger about Mathis’ play to go along with his rebellious look. Mathis was American soccer’s big star back in 2002, reaching the front page of Sports Illustrated. He scored some scintillating goals: Who can forget his stunning goal against South Korea in the 2002 World Cup?
Suddenly, he was a hot property who seemed certain to join German giant Bayern Munich, a deal that never came off. Mathis’ star gradually faded, and he bounced around to a number of clubs.
Mathis’ first outing with Real Salt Lake came in 2005 as the marquee player on an expansion team. He arrived bearing a mohawk and star power, but it didn’t translate onto the field.
Now life is happier. Mathis is playing under Kreis, a former Real player who served as the best man at his wedding.
“He’s been a difference maker for us,” Kreis said. “Certainly not in a statistical category but he’s done a lot of things well so that other players can shine.”
About the Author
By Tom Harris and Madhav Khandekar
Bad science puts rich nations on the hook for trillions in climate liabilities
- Hola: Boehner prepares to push amnesty bill through House
- Kill team: Obama war chiefs widen drone death zones
- U.S. drops 2,000 mice on Guam by parachute to kill snakes
- Doctors say profound new HIV treatment may prove the cure
- Inside China: Nuclear submarines capable of widespread attack on U.S.
- EDITORIAL: Motor City meltdown
- CARSON: Getting to the top by starting at the bottom
- Last call: State Dept. bought $180,000 in liquor before shutdown
- MILLER: Obamas EPA closing smelter will not affect ammunition supply
- Obama: Growing income inequality 'defining challenge' of this generation
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
The Career Doctor Cassi Fields prescribes valuable advice for anyone looking to find a career, nail an interview or earn a promotion.
Headlines from Associated Press and around the Internet
Columns from Voices around the World talking about the events, people, politics and social issues that concern us wherever, and whoever, we are.
This column will cover anything that has anything remotely to do with the game of baseball, from the game itself to mid-summer trades to offseason moves.