Matthew Booth (soccer)
|Full name||Matthew Paul Booth|
|Date of birth||14 March 1977|
|Place of birth||Fish Hoek, South Africa|
|Height||1.98 m (6 ft 6 in)|
|Playing position||Centre back|
|1982–1994||Fish Hoek AFC|
|1994–1996||Cape Town Spurs|
|1994–1998||Cape Town Spurs||92||(5)|
|2001||→ Wimbledon (loan)||0||(0)|
|2011–2013||Ajax Cape Town||40||(5)|
|1995–1997||South Africa U20||18||(0)|
|1998–2000||South Africa U23||35||(2)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
Matthew Paul Booth (born 14 March 1977) is a South African football defender who plays for Bidvest Wits in the Premier Soccer League and internationally for the South Africa national team. Booth will be remembered as a fan favourite among South African fans when they chanted "Booooooth" when he touched the ball while British media outlets dubbed him as "The White Knight", as he was the only white player in the South African national squad.
Early life and youth career
Booth was born in Fish Hoek to Paul and Anthea Booth. His father Paul was an engineer at the Cape Town city council, a semi-professional footballer and administrator for Fish Hoek AFC, while his mother Anthea was a legal secretary. Booth started playing soccer for Fish Hoek AFC in 1982 at the age of five. In 1993, he played in the Bayhill U19 tournament for Fish Hoek, where he was spotted by Cape Town Spurs coach Richard Gomes, who saw a lanky youngster flying into tackles halfheartedly and towering above the opposition's attackers and invited him to train with the club's youth. In 1994, shortly after he turned 17, he trained with the senior squad, which went on to win the league and the BobSave Super Bowl. At the time, he worked at a sports shop in Woodstock and would travel by train to Parow after work to train with the team at CR Vasco da Gama fields at the time, then travelled back to Fish Hoekb after training.
Booth started playing professionally in 1996, alongside experienced players like Shaun Bartlett and Craig Rosslee. Cape Town Spurs and Seven Stars were merged in 1999 to form Ajax Cape Town. He was deemed surplus to requirements at Ajax and wanted to sell him to newly formed Mother City. He fought back eventually joined Mamelodi Sundowns and stayed for three seasons.
Booth was later loaned to Wimbledon FC in England, then moved to Russia to represent both Rostov and later Krylia Sovetov, playing with and against players such as Branislav Ivanović, Vágner Love and Jan Koller.
Booth made his debut for South Africa on 20 February 1999, against Botswana at the Cosafa Castle Cup. He has so far been capped 37 times scoring one goal. Booth was also a member of the team that participated in the 2010 FIFA World Cup as hosts of the competition, but remained an unused substitute for all three group stage matches.
Due to his height, Booth is considered one of the most important players when meeting opponents with tall players.
He was also a participant at the 2000 Olympics.
|1||14 July 2001||Durban, South Africa||Malawi||1–0||2–0||2002 WCQ|
Since 2006, Booth has been married to Sonia Bonneventia Pule, former Miss South Africa first princess and international model whom he met in 2002. They have two sons, Nathan Katlego, and Noah Neo. Booth saved a woman from being beaten on Cape Town's nightclub strip on Long Street early on a Saturday morning. Booth had been playing for Wits in an Absa Premiership game against Ajax Cape Town, which they lost 1–0, hosted at Cape Town Stadium on the previous Friday night. After using an ATM and walking back to his friends, he saw a man assaulting the woman and rushed to her assistance. The attacker shoved Booth, who toppled onto a store’s window ledge which had spikes to prevent people sitting on the ledge. Members of the Central City Improvement District took the attacker away. Booth returned to his hotel where the team doctor attended to his injuries.
Booth retired from professional football on 19 June 2014, even though he was given an option to renew his playing contract.
Booth owns junior coaching clinics at multiple public schools. He has also done some television work for the South African Broadcasting Corporation as an analyst and some writing for The Sowetan. Booth has also registered to do a BA degree through the University of South Africa.
- Bob Save Super Bowl (1): 1994
- Premier Soccer League (2): 1998–99, 1999–00
- Rothmans Cup (1): 1999
- Charity Spectacular (1): 2000
- Bob Save Super Bowl (1): 1998
- Ajax Cape Town Player of the Season: 2013
- "FIFA World Cup South Africa 2010: List of Players" (PDF). FIFA. 4 June 2010. p. 28. Retrieved 16 April 2014.
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