Posted: Friday, March 30th 2007 at 5:35am
Rapids trade Mathis to Red Bulls
By The Associated Press
Colorado Rapids forward Clint Mathis wanted to start. Rapids coach Fernando Clavijo couldn't guarantee that.
So the two sides reached an amicable resolution Friday, and Mathis, of Conyers, Ga., was traded to the New York Red Bulls for a fourth-round draft pick in 2008 and a conditional pick in 2009.
Clavijo said the Red Bulls also will take on the Rapids' share of Mathis' contract. Real Salt Lake absorbed a major portion of Mathis' guaranteed deal when it traded him to the Rapids in December 2005.
Mathis approached Clavijo about his role with the team two weeks ago while the Rapids were training in Europe.
"I told him he was in my plans, but not to start," Clavijo said. "He said he wanted to show himself. We tried to accommodate him. I didn't want to drag this thing out."
Mathis played one season for Colorado, appearing in 25 games in 2006, scoring two goals and adding an assist. He also had a goal in Colorado's 3-2 win over FC Dallas in the playoffs to help the Rapids advance to the Western Conference championships.
Mathis may be best known as the mohawk-wearing, cocky kid who made a big splash as a member of the U.S. national team at the 2002 World Cup. He scored a memorable goal in a 1-1 tie with South Korea.
The rebel in Mathis has subsided. He now wears his hair closely cropped.
The trade to the Red Bulls will reunite Mathis with former U.S. coach Bruce Arena and former American captain Claudio Reyna.
Mathis played for the New York-area team from 2000-03, when it was knock as the MetroStars.
Mathis returned to the MLS in 2005 after a tumultuous year with Hannover in the German Bundesliga. While playing with the expansion team Real Salt Lake in 2005, Mathis scored three goals.
"He pretty much requested to look at other opportunities," Clavijo said. "We don't want anyone here who's not happy. He left on good terms."
Clavijo said the Rapids made calls around the league and New York and Toronto FC expressed the most interest.
"I wish him well," Clavijo said. "It's up to him to be the best player (he can be)."
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