It has been dubbed the soccer equivalent of “posterizing” a defender.
Rookie striker Darren Mattocks made headlines across North America Wednesday night, soaring over Toronto FC defender Logan Emory with an incredible leap to score his sixth goal of the season.
The jaw-dropping tally left fans of the game, no matter what team they support, stunned, perplexed, and bewildered. No one adjective can adequately describe it.
Although he swears he was not surprised by it, even Whitecaps FC strength and conditioning coach Mike Young said he thought the goal was “amazing”.
“Any time you deal with an athlete who has that level of athletic ability, it is really special,” Young told whitecapsfc.com. “You never quite get used to it. You’re not surprised, but it’s like going to Whistler or Niagara Falls or something like that; it’s amazing every time you see it.”
Although the team has not done any vertical jump testing, Young said he suspects Mattocks’ leap is around 40 inches — well above the 20-24 inch average – and even that may be a modest estimate.
This speaks to the 21-year-old Jamaican’s explosiveness and power output. Mattocks has a “unique ability” to not only run with top-end speed, but to repeat his sprints without a drop in performance, Young said.
“That explosive power translates to his vertical jump,” said Young, who has a front row seat of Mattocks’ athleticism every day in training. “In terms of this league, I don’t think there’s anyone that can compare in sheer athleticism.”
Mattocks’ athletic ability was on full display earlier this season, after the ‘Caps first-round pick in the 2012 MLS Super Draft suffered a shoulder injury that put him out of action for over six weeks.
When he returned, Mattocks barely missed a beat, scoring three goals in his first four matches.
“He has what I basically call a little buffer,” Young said. “He is so athletic and so trainable that his 80 per cent was as good as everyone else’s 100 per cent. He was immediately able to slide back in because he didn’t have to get to 100 per cent to match up with everyone else in the league.”
Surely by now, everyone else in the league has taken notice. And if they have not yet, they will soon.
“Darren is like a super high end sports car that has great fuel economy,” Young said. “He can just keep going and going and going.”
MLS: Darren Mattocks over Logan Emory
OLYMPICS: Vince Carter over Frederic Weis
NFL: Jerome Simpson over Daryl Washington
NBA: LeBron James over John Lucas
AFL: Andrew Walker over Jake Carlisle