Photo by ISIphotos.com
Looking to find a way to have your Facebook wall blow up? You could hope for some spam or you could just score an 81-yard free kick as a goalkeeper in your professional debut at Giants Stadium.
“I still don’t know half the people who have been texting me,” New York Red Bulls goalkeeper Danny Cepero said. “I get a lot of 516 area codes so I know they’re from Long Island, from Nassau County, but I’m not sure who (they are). I’m just trying to thank everybody as much as possible. I’ve gotten e-mails from family, friends…my wall is inundated with congratulations from people I just met or barely know of.”
While he is preparing for tonight’s critical regular-season finale against Chicago, Cepero said he is having trouble grasping how global his goal, the first by a Major League Soccer goalkeeper, has become.
The Baldwin, L.I., native received an e-mail from former Red Bulls goalkeeper Ronald Waterreus, who joked about always telling Cepero to “kick with a purpose.” And he was told that one of Sinisa Ubiparipovic’s friends in Serbia read about the goal in a newspaper there.
“I was like, ‘Whoa, that’s a little weird,'” Cepero said. “I think it’s one of those things that will be around for a few days and then something else a little more important will take over.”
The soft-spoken Cepero is almost embarrassed by the notoriety he’s received from his 81-yard lofting free kick that bounced over the head of Crew goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum. He said his focus is on the Fire, but he still answered questions for 20-plus minutes at Tuesday’s training session, mostly about his goal.
“The goal aside from Saturday, consistency is the focus for me right now,” Cepero said. “I think I played pretty well Saturday and it’s just important to play well and do what I have to do so we can get into the playoffs and get a win over in Chicago.”
Cepero isn’t letting the attention get to his head. But in case he was, his mother, Ana, is there to bring him back to earth.
“Stay focused, stay grounded and don’t let Cuauhtémoc score on you,” she said in an e-mail.
Scoring a second career isn’t necessarily in Cepero’s plans tonight. Helping the Red Bulls clinch a playoff berth, while also winning over his soccer-crazed mother, are.
“She’s a huge Cuauhtémoc Blanco fan, he’s like her favorite player,” Cepero said of his mother, who is of Mexican descent. “There’s a conflict of interest there. She also loves Brian McBride. I’m like, ‘What about Danny Cepero?'”