NEW YORK — Guinness World Records was on hand, so it’s official: The MLS All-Star team and hundreds of fans in New York City now hold the record for the most consecutive penalty kicks taken.
The final tally came out to 742, breaking the previous record of 525, set recently during the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany.
Michael McGrail, age 12, of Westfield, N.J. kicked the 526th penalty kick—and scored. McGrail’s entire family, including parents and three younger siblings, just happened to be passing by Herald Square when they saw the event and decided to take kicks. All six took kicks. The English family moved to New Jersey about a year ago from London, and Michael is a soccer player whose favorite team is Manchester United.
Despite a rainshower, everyone seemed in a jovial mood when ESPN analyst and former US international Alexi Lalas kicked things off. He buried his shot, perhaps foretelling of a positive result to come.
After that, the shots came fast and furious, as soccer fans from around the Big Apple joined tourists and midtown 9-to-5ers stepped up to try their luck against a revolving roster of brave goalkeepers.
Shooters included MLS All-Stars David Beckham, Thierry Henry, Juan Agudelo and Kyle Beckerman, as well as US women's national team star Alex Morgan. MLS Commissioner Don Garber overcame the lack of grip on the soles of his dress shoes to strike a nice shot into the lower corner. Actor Dominic Monaghan, famous for his roles in Lord of the Rings and Lost, wore a Manchester United jersey when he fired his shot into the back of the net.