Let the Celebrations Commence: The Art of Soccer Celebrations

Kevin WilliamsCorrespondent IAugust 21, 2008

What would soccer, or football (for fans outside the U.S.), be without the passionate, crazy, sometimes shocking celebrations?

There are the basic celebrations. Things like pumping your fist into the air, diving onto the pitch, embracing with teammates, etc.

Then there are the celebrations that remind you of the passion these players have for the the beautiful game, and why you love the game so much.

Your team is away playing their bitter rivals. They were down 0-2 at the half. After fierce taunting from the away crowd, your team has tied the game 2-2. Then in the last minute of injury time, a player from your team scores to seal the deal in a come from behind win. The entire home stand is silent. Your player doesn't even smile. He just raises his hand to his ear and soaks in the silence from the home side. Or, he may prefer to press his finger to his lips, telling those jeering to simply shut up because they just lost. Celebrations like these are priceless, and add to the drama of the game.

Team unity is also shown during these celebrations. I find it very entertaining when the Australian side proceed to have a boxing match with the corner flag, or when they mimic jumping like kangaroos on the pitch. If your not one to read tabloids, you'll know that your favorite player is a new father once he begins "rocking the cradle" after he scores, usually joined by teammates. Has Ronaldo just scored a hat trick? Chances are that he is about to get his shoes signed by fellow Red Devil, Patrice Evra.

Some players may feel it's necessary to mock the media in their celebrations. This would explain Robbie Fowler's goal celebration in 1999 after being accused of drug abuse. Fowler proceeded to get on all fours and mime snorting cocaine at the touchline. Unfortunately, this would also cost him 60,000 pounds afterwards.

Who knew soccer players were so multi-talented? Ronaldinho would have made it as a samba dancer, and I'm sure Obafemi Martins would be the beat gymnast in the world if he wasn't playing soccer. Also, apparently, Alberto Gilardino of Fiorentina is a natural-born air violinist.

Many people are honored during goal celebrations. Kaka points his index fingers to the sky in honor of his Christian religion. After the death of WWE wrestler, Eddie Guerrero, in 2005, James Morrison began doing his signature chet beating and shoulder shaking. Players also let their wives know that they are thinking of them on the pitch. Hence, the kiss the ring celebration done by the likes of Raul Gonzales, Dirk Kuyt, and Frank Lampard. David Beckham occasionally throws his fist in the air while jumping, mimicking a celebration once done by basketball star Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls after sinking a game winning shot.

Other signature celebrations include the robo-kop, which became a phenomenon after Peter Crouch netted in a goal during an international match. My favorite player, Didier Drogba, sticks out his tongue and pumps his arms out by his side before sliding on his knees. Cuauhtemoc Blanco prefers to pose like an Aztec when celebrating. Steven Gerrard likes to point to the back of his jersey; basically saying "the name says it all."

Along with the memorable celebrations, there are also the ones that players would love to forget. Didier Drogba once scored a goal and was called offsides. Didier, however, was not aware of this, and that resulted in a lengthy celebration. Drogba stuck his tongue out, had his hands extended, and began shaking as if he was having a seizure. This continued for about thirty seconds or so as many, many people looked on.

When it comes to the art of celebration, American Clint Dempsey, currently on Fulham, is the Picasso of celebrations. Once in a while he likes to do the famous, but currently out-of-date, lean wit it rock wit it dance. When playing in the MLS, his goal celebrations were based on the city he was in. When playing for the New England Revolution, against the Chicago Fire, Dempsey proceeded to stop, drop, and roll after scoring. After scoring in Kansas City, he clicked his heels like Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz. When he netted against the Mexican-owned Chivas USA, Dempsey decided that the Mexican hat dance was an appropriate celebration.

Celebrations in soccer, and sports in general, show the passion of the game. Whether a player has just scored the game winner, or is simply having the time of his life out there on the pitch, celebrations give us a whole new appreciation for the game.


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