As the ball approached the goal in the air, Higuita would get his body ready and perfectly time his action to flex his torso and bring his legs back together in the air to boot the ball out away from the goal.
While he is in the air, the entire play resembles how a scorpion looks, thus, the nickname.
Higuita was the Columbian National Team goalkeeper for several years in the late 80's and 90's and made appearances in the 1990 World Cup. He would have been in the 1994 World Cup, but he got involved with the druglord Pablo Escobar and made bad decisions. His wrongdoing led to time spent in prison. This time coincided with the '94 WC.
At first glance, the 'Scorpion Kick' looks like a novelty shot. And, it was. But, over the years, Higuita honed the art of the kick to reach such a high level, that he would use it in game situations in which the kick would act as a real save.
Regardless if the score was tied or whether his team was losing or had a big lead, Higuita would use the play if he felt it would rally his team and create excitement for the fans.
The play never seemed to be a risky one, but it was. It it extremely difficult to do. Fans and critics took it for granted after a while, never really doubting his timing or flexibility with the play.
Higuita was cut from a different cloth. He would take unusual risks as a goalkeeper. He was known to come out from way beyond the keeper's area and play with his feet against opposing players, leaving the net open. Most of the time, he was able to create offensive opportunities for his teams, but he got burned a few times, as well.
He was so good with his feet, that he was often called on to cross midfield to take direct kicks on goal. He was successful many times at providing assists and scoring goals.
His energy and enthusiasm for Soccer was irresistible to fans. He was one of a kind and he is respected among Soccer players as one of the all-time greats. The way he played made the game more exciting.
How long before a 'Scorpion Kick' gets duplicated in MLS?
It would be special to see a goalkeeper coming out from goal more often, taking risks, playmaking and making saves like a scorpion. It's the kind of stuff lacking in the sport that could bring in higher Tv ratings.
Originally published on May 12th, 2012