SALT LAKE CITY - Real Salt Lake, Major League Soccer's 12th team, today introduced U.S. National Team icon Clint Mathis as the expansion team's first allocation from MLS. Mathis, one of the most dangerous attackers the United States has ever produced, played in MLS for the Los Angeles Galaxy and MetroStars from 1998-2003 before joining Hannover 96 in the famed German Bundesliga.
"As Real Salt Lake continues to build the organization, we are elated to welcome a player of Clint's caliber and stature to a roster that already includes such offensive powerhouses as Jason Kreis and Andy Williams," said RSL General Manager Steve Pastorino. "We believe that Clint is an extremely special player on the field who can change the game at any moment, and off the field he has proven to capture the imagination of the American sporting public. We expect great things from Clint during our inaugural season and beyond."
Mathis, who has scored 11 goals in 44 appearances with the U.S. National Team, is known for scoring one of the most crucial goals for the United States in the 2002 World Cup, delivering a clinical finish in the 24th minute to give the U.S. a 1-0 lead against Korea. In 2004, Mathis appeared in six matches for Bruce Arena's team, starting three, including the United States' 1-0 win over Poland on March 31, the team's first win on European soil.
"I am very excited to be here in Salt Lake, playing for (RSL Head Coach) John Ellinger and performing as part of a world-class team," said Mathis. "Everything I've heard about this community and their response to what Dave Checketts and Steve Pastorino are doing off the field, combined with my happiness to be playing for John, gives me a great feeling of anticipation for the MLS season. I can't wait to get out there and play."
Mathis began his Bundesliga career by starting his first 13 games and scoring in four of his first five appearances for Hannover, demonstrating his ability to disrupt defenses with unpredictability and speed off the dribble. Prior to his season-and-a-half with Hannover, Mathis garnered several MLS honors, including his memorable MLS Goal of the Year in 2001 (a slashing, 70-yard run through the Dallas Burn defense), MLS All-Star and Best XI selections in 2000, two MLS Player of the Month and MLS Player of the Week honors in 2000, the season he set the MLS record with five goals in a single game (August 26, 2000, at Dallas).
"Clint's ability and willingness to shoot from distance is one of the things that sets him apart," said Real Salt Lake Head Coach John Ellinger. " He can just take a game over and explode on opposing teams. He is an adept passer, he's menacing on free kicks and we're thrilled to have him in Salt Lake."
Mathis becomes Real Salt Lake's 15th player, and will soon be joined by several more via the 2005 MLS SuperDraft as well as additional discoveries and other player acquisitions.