Season 10: Celebrate good times

if not the best -- goal celebrations this season.

How he feels when he scores: "After scoring a goal, (it's) feeling all the pressure just being lifted off your shoulder. You're so excited. It's such an adrenaline rush. It's hard to describe unless you have that opportunity to score. Every time you score, you get that same feeling. It's an empowering feeling. You feel like you're on top of the world and I don't think anything can beat that."

The home run celebration: "I was walking on the pitch before the game. A baseball team plays there as well. D.C. had such a nice field. Because a baseball team is there now it just makes the field lopsided. All those humps here and there. It kind of disappoints you as a player to see you have to play in these conditions, when it used to be so much nicer. So it was just kind of poking fun at the baseball team. It's kind of releasing a little anger, a little bit stress. What a disappointing kind of way MLS was kind of treated in the sense that they weren't able to maintain the same quality of field they had before. That was kind of something me and the guys thought about during the warmup. If I score, I'll run over to home plate and it will be hilarious."

His other celebrations: "There was a fishing one that me and Rally (Steve Ralston) did. Rally and I were fishing one day and I thought would be funny. Yeah, it would be cool. So I ended up like throwing a line and he was a fish and I was reeling him in. There was one in Chicago. That was a spur of the moment. I ended up hitting the ball into the air and it fell into the net. There happened to be a guy there with a camera. I was just posing for a picture. Another one against Chivas, it was a stressful game. I put it into the back of the net. It was an adrenaline rush and running and jumping into your home supporters and trying to share a moment with them. I thought it was pretty cool."

Mark Chung

Chung, a midfielder with the San Jose Earthquakes, has scored 56 times in his 10-year career.

How he feels when he scores: "It's different for every game because it depends on where you're team is. I think if there are times and you're already down 3-0 or 4-0, you score and it's like, you know, 'I've got a goal.' It really doesn't help that much that you're down a goal. Then there's a game, I remember we played Dallas and leading up to the game Dallas had pretty much beaten us in every regular-season game. We played them in the playoffs and we got to the third game. We went into overtime and I scored a header to put us into the finals of the Western Conference. That is one of the best feelings. Just great joy and also just being exhausted from overtime and entire game. Just relief. It is really hard to describe. I was just dreaming. Guys were chasing me down and grabbing hold of me and tackling me and stuff."

Goal celebration: "I used to. When I was with Kansas City I used to do the running man and some dances. Otherwise, now I'm older and I just put my hand up. If I do any kind of celebration, I hurt myself."

Roy Lassiter

Lassiter, who filled the back of the net with the Tampa Bay Mutiny, D.C. United, Miami Fusion and Kansas City Wizards before retiring after a seven-year career in 2002, is the league's second all-time scorer with 88 goals.

How he feels when he scores: "When I get a hold of the ball and put the ball in the back of the net in any manner, it's a real big adrenaline rush for me. It's like saying 'I'm the man, I'm it and you're going to have to come get me.' It's an attention drawer. The players get all around you. They're excited that you scored. They're excited that you've tied the game or the winning goal or got us another goal to get us closer to tying. It makes a huge statement to me that I'm helping my team, that I'm doing my job. It just makes me feel really good and after that it makes me want to go out and get another one. I celebrate right then and I almost throw it back in the other team's face that I scored. I'm so happy I'm going to score another one."

His signature airplane goal celebration: "Actually, it started with (Carlos) Valderrama. He scored a goal -- he didn't score many. It was early in the year and all of sudden he did it and I followed him doing it. When I scored, I did it every single time. He would get the airplane out. That guy -- if you scored a goal, he would be more excited than you are. He would be just out of his mind. He would come to you with the airplane. I just kept it going."

Ante Razov

Razov, who currently plays with the MetroStars after stints with the Los Angeles Galaxy, Chicago Fire and Columbus Crew, has 81 career goals.

How he feels when he scores: "It's kind of hard to describe. For a second ... it's quiet and it's almost like a slow motion reaction. It's a rush of adrenaline and you just kind of explode. Every goal is important and every goal is exciting. But if it's at the end of a game or if it's a championship-type game, national team game, it's hard to control. If you're down five-nil and your score a goal to make it 5-1, you're much more subdued. For the most part, it's a rush of adrenaline. You run to a corner or you run to celebrate. You need to make that adrenaline go away and then you are absolutely exhausted for the next two minutes. It's so high and you come down so quickly. You might need a minute or two. You hope the kickoff is kind of delayed."

Goal celebration: "It all depends on situation, time of the game, what kind of game it is, what the score is. It all varies. ... It's kind of impulsive. I don't really plan anything out. Some guys will kind of plan things out and have some tricky stuff. I just run in the area. There is no set thing by me."

Steve Ralston

Ralston, a midfielder with the New England Revolution after six seasons with the Tampa Bay Mutiny, is better known for his passing, but has 51 goals in 10 MLS seasons.

How he feels when he scores: "When you're playing soccer the best feeling ever is winning and scoring a goal. There's nothing better. The adrenaline rush you get, it is incomparable to anything else, really, for us, as athletes."

Goal celebration: "I like the old school way when football players give the ball to the referee and get back. We'll jump into the crowd a little bit. The fans love it."

Clint Mathis

Mathis, who's played both striker and midfielder with Real Salt Lake, has 48 career goals (also performing for the Los Angeles Galaxy and MetroStars). Incredibly, he hasn't scored this season.

How he feels when he scores: "It depends on how the game goes. Sometimes it's just being happy. Sometimes you're angry. Sometimes it's just relief. I remember that goal I scored against Kansas City when it was like 120 degrees and the game was just so slow. Billy Walsh played me a ball across the top of the box. There were a few minutes left in the game. I hit a volley. It was just a release because everybody was so dead tired. Just to be able to score and to know the game was pretty much over."

His "I Love NY" shirt celebration and celebrations in general: "Obviously the New York shirt was premeditated. Nowadays I don't do a whole lot of it. It depends on what goes on at that particular time of the game. It's just something that happens there on the field. ... It's a good thing about the game. That's why it's kind of tough to be in the NFL, where players can't really get in there and celebrate as much or get a personal foul or whatever. People enjoy seeing that. The same thing with soccer."

Jeff Cunningham

Cunningham, the Colorado Rapids forward who is tied with New England's Pat Noonan for the MLS goal lead (eight apiece), has scored 70 MLS goals (most of them with the Columbus Crew).

How he feels when he scores: "I've heard it described as better than sex. For me, I am more excited about giving my team an opportunity to win the game. The excitement they feel about the goal, more than myself being happy about it. I'm not a prolific goal-scorer over the years. I think I became a decent goal-scorer. I am more happy scoring the game-winner for the team.

Goal celebration: "In high school and college I've always done the airplane -- both hands out wide. Now, I never plan. It's whatever I'm feeling at the moment. I go with it. Many times I've found that when I plan a celebration and don't score I get frustrated. So I stopped planning them. I don't have a trademark, unfortunately. But I do notice when I score that I'm quite entertaining. That's what my teammates say."

Tab Ramos

Ramos, who played seven seasons for the MetroStars before retiring in 2002, scored eight goals. He was a playmaker more than a goal scorer.

How he feels when he scores: "It is hard to describe. I wasn't a goal scorer. ... The only goal that I can recall that I was really felt a lot of pride for was and stuff like that was probably the Costa Rica goal for the national team (in a 1-0 World Cup qualifying victory in 1997). I scored against Ireland a couple of times and they were just friendly games. I got much more of a rush by dribbling by somebody and getting a good assist. I felt I did my job if I put the forward in a perfect situation and he just tucked it in. That's the best feeling for me. As far as scoring goals, goal scoring (for him) really was just not important."

Goal celebration: I like the celebrations of some (players). As far as me personally, goals are goals. ... For the Costa Rica game I ran to the sideline and celebrated because I don't think there was not much time left in the game."

Michael Lewis writes about soccer for the New York Daily News and is editor of BigAppleSoccer.com. He has covered MLS since its inception. He can be reached at SoccerWriter516@aol.com. Views and opinions expressed in this column are the author's, and not necessarily those of Major League Soccer or MLSnet.com.


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