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Click here for more on this story

Posted: Tuesday March 07, 2000 04:29 PM

Joe-Max Factor  

Moore is doing U.S. soccer proud overseas

Sports Illustrated

For most male U.S. soccer players not named Alexi Lalas, the notion of being recognized on the street is pure folly. Which brings us to the peculiar quandary of American striker Joe-Max Moore, whose goal-scoring explosion for Everton of the English Premier League has provided him a Q rating in England usually reserved for Spice Girls and their spouses. While being followed through the grocery or stopped on the sidewalk is indeed sweet for Moore, god help him when Everton followers learn that he lives with fellow American Brad Friedel, goalkeeper for Everton's archnemesis, Liverpool.

"I don't know what people would say if they found out," said a joking Moore last week, quickly noting that he and his wife, Martha, hope to find more Everton-friendly digs soon. "I've known Brad for 10 years. While we're very close, when we play each other, we leave all that aside."

Playing in the Premier League on a free transfer from MLS's New England Revolution, Moore, 29, has scored an astounding six goals in his first eight games. In his debut, on Jan. 15 against Tottenham, he entered the match as a reserve with seven minutes remaining and Everton trailing 2-1, and he promptly scored the equalizer to preserve his team's unbeaten home record. Another goal as a late reserve in an F.A. Cup match against Preston two games later led to a starting nod for Moore in place of local wunderkind Francis Jeffers, one of England's top prospects.

Moore is a U.S. national team veteran, but his play in MLS -- he scored 37 goals in 77 games over three seasons -- hardly suggested impending glory across the pond. "We didn't think he would have such an immediate impact," Everton manager Walter Smith says, "but he has good skill on the ball, and obviously he has shown he can finish."

Moore's knack for finding the back of the net has won him a three-year contract with Everton and the chance to build upon the Premiership successes of two other Yanks: midfielder John Harkes and goalkeeper Kasey Keller. Should Moore's stellar play continue, Everton's fans will likely demand but one thing of their new cult hero: a new address.

Issue date: March 13, 2000

For more Scorecard see this week's issue of Sports Illustrated, on newsstands Wednesday, March 8. Click here to subscribe to SI.

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