U.S. men's schedule, results
Mathis, West sign overseas; Gibbs doesn't.By Gary Davidson (in Washington, D.C.)
and Robert Wagman (in Washington, D.C.)
(Tuesday, January 20, 2004) -- MetroStars striker Clint Mathis' magical mystery tour is over. After trying out with several clubs and reportedly turning down an offer with Sunderland of England's First Division, Mathis has found a home with the Bundesliga's Hannover 96, a team that employs his United States men's teammates, defender Steve Cherundolo.
Hannover expects Mathis to sign a contract tomorrow which will run through the 2005-06 season. Because his contract with Major League Soccer expired, the German club will not have to pay a transfer fee. MLs has not ruled, but it is expected the league will grant the MetroStars a player allocation to replace him
Elsewhere, rising U.S. defender Cory Gibbs has opted out of a deal that would have sent him from St. Pauli of the third division to the Second Bundesliga's Jahn Regensburg because of a possible offer from the first division. Former Columbus Crew attacker Brian West signed with Fredrickstad of Norway's second division.
Mathis, 27, goes overseas after six years in Major League Soccer, starting with the Los Angeles Galaxy before being sent to the MetroStars midway though his third season. He led the MetroStars with nine goals, starting all 22 of his 2003 appearances.
In In 132 MLS games -- 109 starts -- Mathis scored 48 goals and added 38 assists. He also had four goals and three assists in 16 playoff matches.
Mathis also has 11 goals in 34 games with the U.S. men, including the American tally in a 1-1 draw with South Korea at the 2002 World Cup.
Mathis, who impressed Hannover officials during a tryout in Turkey, will be eligible to play when the Bundesliga resumes play January 30 after a six-week winter break.
"With Clint, we've gotten a good forward," Hannover assistant manager Carsten Linke told Associated Press. "I think we've all satisfied with the way we've reinforced the team."
Cherundolo's recommendation appeared to carry great weight with Hannover management. "He told us that Clint would fit right in with the club," Linke said.
Hannover (5-7-5, 20 points) is 11th among 18 teams in the Bundesliga.
Gibbs, who was with St. Pauli in its descent from the Bundesliga to the Second Bundesliga and then the Regionalliga, was sent to Jahn Regensburg of the second division for a reported $110,000 transfer fee. Gibbs reported to the Hamburg club, took a physical and was issued a jersey, but decided not to sign a contract when Eintracht Frankfurt, last in the first division, showed interest.
Regensburg is equally challenged in the standings, 5-6-6 with 21 points in 13th place, four points above the relegation zone.
West, whose contract with MLS expired, was one of six guest players who trained with Regensburg during the winter break. Not offered a contract, West took a job with Fredrickstad, second in Norway's second division, on a free transfer.
Fredrickstad coach Harry Hansen called West a "good addition" in an interview on the club's web site.