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Mohawks in MLS: 'Do has its roots with an MLS legend

Joel Lindpere and Clint Mathis

Photo Credit: 
Getty Images

NEW YORK — During the New York Red Bulls’ recent match against the Chicago Fire, a familiar face with a new hairdo scored the game-tying goal: Joel Lindpere was sporting a fresh look this week having traded in his close-cropped cut for a Taxi Driver-esque mohawk.

Scoring goals isn’t likely to keep his teammates from voicing their opinions though. Juan Agudelo told MLSsoccer.com that it looked as though Lindpere “got in a fight with a lawnmower.”

There are few haircuts that enthrall — and enrage — as much as the mohawk. If you’ve ever contemplated getting one, you should know this: Your parents may hate it but the general public will flock to it. If you shy away from attention, this is not the look for you.

Like most athletes, Clint Mathis has never wanted to fade into the background. Quite the contrary — when he famously sported that single fin of hair as a member of the MetroStars, standing out from the crowd was part of the coiffeur's mission.

“When I originally wore the mohawk at the 2002 World Cup, it was just to ease the tension a little bit before playing in the biggest competition of our lives,” Mathis said. “Some people do it as an extension of their personality, to be different or to make people laugh. I always played with a little bit of fire and liked to be different and make people laugh, so for me it was a bit of all three.”

What exactly did his teammates find so funny about the haircut?

“It was funny when I did it because I have such a cueball-white head,” Mathis said, laughing.

But while the original MLS mohawk king wore it as a lark, one heir to the throne rocks his new-school mohawk daily.

“I wear it all the time,” New England Revolution’s forward Diego Fagundez said.

For the 16 year-old, who scored in his recent MLS debut, the extreme look is less an expression of punk attitude — “I’m more of a hip-hop and electro guy” — and more of a progression from a past of spiky gelled hair. Still, the Revs youngster is defiant in the face of ribbing from his older teammates.

“Sometimes they pick on my hair, but it’s who I am," he said. "I won’t cut it.”