For the first time since 1994 a U.S. male soccer player is on the cover of the country's most popular sports magazine, Sports Illustrated.
Clint Mathis, a forward for Major League Soccer's New York/New Jersey Metrostars, is pictured holding a silver and black soccer ball with a huge caption reading, "America's Best," and labeling Mathis as a scoring sensation. The 25-year-old Mathis is likely to be one of the starters on the U.S. World Cup soccer team that heads to South Korea on Thursday.
This week's unique edition features a three-page profile of Mathis, as well as an in-depth preview of all 32 teams competing in the 2002 World Cup in South Korea and Japan. The new issue, dated May 27, is now available at newsstands in the USA and will soon be available in selected cities worldwide.
The last male soccer player to earn a Sports Illustrated cover was midfielder Ernie Stewart in 1994 when the USA hosted the World Cup. The 33-year-old Stewart, who plays professionally in the Dutch league, for NAC Breda, is also on this year's U.S. World Cup team.
The last soccer cover subjects for Sports Illustrated were Brandi Chastain and the U.S. Women's National Team in 1999 when the Americans captured that year's Women's World Cup held in the United States.