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Casey scores twice as Karlsruhe ties Bielefeld 2-2, is named "Player of the Week."

McBride, Bocanegra lead Fulham past West Ham in FA Cup.

Sanneh expected to miss rest of German season; Mathis scores again.

Friedel scores tying goal for Blackburn, but is soon beaten by Charlton winner.

Mathis has goal, assist for Hannover in 2-2 draw with Leverkusen.

O'Brien appearance for U.S. in doubt because of hamstring injury.

Howard leads Man. U. past Reyna, Man. City 4-2 in FA Cup.

Hannover, with Mathis, Cherundolo, falls to Bayern Munich; Casey, Berhalter score in victories.

Friedel saves Rovers' badly needed 1-0 victory over Middlesbrough, giving Souness respite.

Keller lives nightmare, Spurs are eliminated by Man. City 4-3 in FA Cup; Bocanegra excels for Fulham.

McBride, Mathis score key goals in European debuts.

Americans Abroad

Q&A: Mathis is enjoying Germany, looking to 2006 World Cup.

Clint Mathis
Clint Mathis came prepared for the cold and snow in Germany.
-- Hannover 96 web site photo --
(Sunday, March 7, 2004) -- SoccerTimes correspondent Salman Mitha had a phone conversation with American attacker Clint Mathis a few days after the United States men dropped a 1-0 decision to the Netherlands in Amsterdam.

After six season playing in Major League Soccer, Mathis now plies his trade for Hannover 96 in the German Bundesliga where U.S. defender Steve Cherundolo is his teammate. Hannover is in a three-way tie for 13th place, just one point above the relegation zone at 6-11-6 with 24 points.

SoccerTimes: After three goals in your first four matches in the Bundesliga, what are you initial thoughts on playing in Germany?
Mathis: I would much rather have three wins in four games than three goals, but so far it has been great playing for Hannover and hopefully the wins will soon follow.
[Editor's note: Mathis has one goal in two matches since this interview.]
SoccerTimes: What is your preferred position: deep-lying striker or coming out the midfield?
Mathis: I am playing now like a second striker\playmaker and I'm enjoying that. I'm comfortable in this position. Right now, I think I'm playing OK, definitely can get better as I adapt to the league and my teammates.
SoccerTimes: How would you compare the level of play here versus the MLS?
Mathis: It's definitely a higher level, I think everyone can agree on that -- we practice day in and day out much harder. Every game is played to prevent relegation, to move up a spot to Champions League or UEFA Cup. You are always fighting for something each and every game.
SoccerTimes: Currently Hannover is in the middle of table, the team started the spring season with a win, but now two losses and a tough draw later. What is the team thinking for the rest of the schedule: playing for next year or not giving up this year?
Mathis: Definitely not giving up -- there's still a lot of soccer to be played with 13 matches left. With those games, you will see a lot changes in the standings. Anything can happen. We will continue to work and play hard and hope for the best.
SoccerTimes: You are in a new country, dealing with a new language, culture. How has it been assimilating to all this?
Mathis: It's definitely been easier having (United States teammate) Steven (Cherundolo) here to help me out with everything. But it's a new life. I'm enjoying it with all the different experiences.
SoccerTimes: How was your time with MLS and playing under coach Bob Bradley?
Mathis: I had blast playing (for the Metrostars) and I wouldn't trade it for anything. I enjoyed the three-and-half years I was there, the last year with Bob. We had our up and downs with the way the team performed and what not. I still enjoyed it. I met some of my best friends during that time. Like I said, I wouldn't trade it for anything.
SoccerTimes: Your former (MetroStars and U.S.) teammate Tim Howard is playing over in Europe now (as Manchester United's goalkeeper), along with other American soccer stars. Do you feel that a trend will begin with more and more players coming over and playing European soccer?
Mathis: I definitely think that's happening. It's a situation where people wanted to play at home and get used to professional soccer. But as we (American players) continue to grow and get better and better and we will have to play at the highest level against the best players each and every day. We will have to come to Europe to get that.
SoccerTimes: How would you assess the impact of Freddy Adu playing for the MLS -- positive or too early to guess?
Mathis: Of course, it's too early to say anything. However, I think he is an excellent player. It's going to be good for him to start (with D.C. United) to gain experience as a professional. He is only 15 so I think that's a good start. Eventually, he will have to come over here.
SoccerTimes: If he plays well over the next year, year-and-a-half, and after his play in last year's under-21 (men's world championships), do you think he should be able to try out for the (senior) national team?
Mathis: It's not about age; it's about getting the job done. If he continues to play well, I can see (U.S. manager) Bruce (Arena) bringing him and seeing if he can help our country.
SoccerTimes: What are you goals now for international play and looking ahead to the 2006 World Cup in Germany?
Mathis: I hope to continue to be there for the team and continue to help anyway I can, whether I'm a starter or sub. I would love to be a part of the team here in Germany. I think it's going to be a great World Cup to be associated with. Now having a home here and the fans here, it will be great playing here.
SoccerTimes: What were the (U.S.) team's thoughts about the Netherlands friendly (a 1-0 loss) and the current level of the team?
Mathis: This last match (against the Dutch), we played against one of the best teams in the world. For us to be to able to create chances, to be able (to have the opportunity) to tie the game or maybe win it, it was a good showing for us. We definitely could have played better, could have held the ball better. We have to continue to take each game as a learning experience, realize that we can compete against the best teams in the world. Just have to continue to work hard for each other and go out there and play.
SoccerTimes: So what's with the Euro muttonchops? Are you ready to compete with the likes of Beckham, Davids, Ljunberg and your own teammate Xavier?
Mathis: I'm definitely not competing for hairstyles. I'm a jokester and I'll do stuff like that in order to take a little bit of pressure off with what's going on. It'll make the guys laugh or ease the tension. But definitely not doing to make a fashion statement, that's for sure.

Salman Mitha, an American living in Munich for the past two years, covers European sports as a freelance reporter.

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