U.S. Soccer

Hannover 96 honor Cherundolo with testimonial match

SteveCherundoloTestimonial (Hannover)


Steve Cherundolo pulled on the Hannover 96 uniform for one final time last Sunday as he was honored with a testimonial match for his service to the club.

Affectionately known as the “Mayor of Hannover,” Cherundolo was forced to call time on his career last March after repeated knee injuries curtailed his return to match fitness. However, while he currently serves as an assistant coach for the Hannover U-23s, the club’s reserve side, the club honored Cherundolo prior to their friendly match against Lazio with a 30-minute exhibition match, featuring some of Cherundolo’s former teammates and some local celebrities.

Cherundolo played for both the white and the red teams, switching at halftime, and scored once for the red team in the second half, as well as jokingly sending off one of his own teammates when he took the red card out of the referee’s pocket.

The 35-year-old, who was born in Rockford, Illinois and grew up in the San Diego, Calif. suburbs, left the University of Portland following his sophomore year to join Hannover in 1999, when they were still in the 2. Bundesliga. Three years later, they made the jump up to the Bundesliga and have remained there ever since.

Cherundolo finished his career with 415 appearances with Hannover in all competitions, and served as their captain from 2010 through his retirement.

Cherundolo was also a veteran for the U.S. Men’s National Team, making his debut against Jamaica in Sept. 1999 and playing a huge role for the USA over the rest of his career. He was a part of the 2002, 2006 and 2010 World Cup squads, and played in both the 2005 and 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cups.

In all, Cherundolo amassed 87 caps for the USMNT, his final match coming in a 3-1 victory against Guatemala in World Cup qualifying at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan.

Following the testimonial, Cherundolo gave a lap of honor as “Surfin’ USA” by the Beach Boys played over the PA system. The fans in attendance gave Cherundolo a standing ovation, and before finally exiting the field, he took his daughter out onto the field and posed for a group picture with his former teammates.

Here’s a look at the testimonial match:


What did you think of this match? Nice to see Cherundolo honored in that fashion? What are your favorite memories of him from his playing career?

Share your thoughts below.

  • Lorenzo

    What a great player. Reminds me of a defenders version of McBride. No on every had a problem with him or his effort. Always a class act. Never blew you away with amazing world class skill, but always had enough to get it done and earn the respect of everyone who watched him play.

    Thoughts on his chances of making the US Soccer Hall of Fame?


    • Anthony

      How many elite national teams have testimonials for former players. I am asking because I do not know. I have seen clubs do it, but never national teams.


      • Brian I

        It’s not really that common with National teams, more of a club team thing…so I wouldn’t be to harsh on US Soccer if they didn’t do anything. I don’t remember one for the likes of Reyna, Mcbride (Olympics don’t count), and Keller.


  • smelly

    where does he rank up there as Greatest American Soccer Players Ever? Surely top 5. 15 years at 1 club in Germany is amazing. Over 300 games in the Bundesliga. Dude has made millions from playing.

    To me the 5 best US players ever are


    the next 5 would be Reyna, McBride, Keller, Harkes, Bradley


    • SoccerDadinCali

      Nice top 5…I would put Donovan first, but Friedal and Howard have had long productive careers in the EPL so it’s hard to argue. I’d love to fit Reyna somewhere in the top 5, but that’s the problem with top 5’s, not enough space.

      Hopefully it is just a matter of time before the USSF schedules testimonial matches for Cherundolo and Donovan. Klinsmann doesn’t look too interested in acknowledging either player.

      Hope there will be an opportunity for Cherundolo to work with the US Academy to help develop some promising young outside fullbacks.


      • Anthony

        Where do you get that? You are letting your hate of Klinsman block your proper judgement. Any objective person could see he has a preference for Dolo. That being said, I don’t know if they will do a testimonial. In my 30+ years of following soccer in the US and Europe, I have never seen a national team involved. It was usually a club team hosting it or a group of ex-teammates and competitors doing it….but I could be wrong.


    • Josh D

      That depends on how you judge “best.” Skill wise or simple greatest or most important.

      If we are talking European US players Donovan is nowhere close to top ten.

      In my mind, mixing best in skill set and most important in terms of their accomplisemts I’d have in no order:

      1. McBride: club legend, captain and top scorer
      2. Dempsey: nothing to say
      3. Friedel: The top three (him, Keller and Howard) are al quite even but he wins out for longevity and knocking down a few US bias barriers
      4. Beasley: For his European tournament performances
      5. Dolo: For being the first to play an entire career at one club and his overall skill

      Just missed: Gooch, Bradley, Howard, Keller, Reyna, Harkes


      • Josh D

        Sorry my list is for US players who played in Europe. I misread your post.


      • reignman

        Is it? Beasley had an accomplished career in Europe (especially at PSV) and started in 4 different WCs for the US, I’m not sure he’d be in my top 5 but I can defend it easily.


      • James

        No disrespect to Beas, I’ve always been a big fan, but I think when you look at their body of work as a whole, both dolo and reyna had better careers. Reyna had 4 WC, and Dolo would have had 4 had it not been for injury. Both captained well respected European teams, both garnered a huge amount of respect from their peers, and Reyna is the only american to ever be on an all world cup team. I know beas has the CL goals, but that, for me, doesn’t mean as much as captaining a top tier club.


      • 43

        but what does it matter if you captained a mid-table club in a top league?

        Beasley helped a team reach the CL semi’s and had a year in the PL not to mention having a decent time in Mexico.

        also did much better in 2006 WC than say Donovan


      • brent

        Dolo was way better than Beasley. Nobody even knows that Beasley was on Hannover for 1 year but never played because the Bundesliga was to high a level. Beasley made 4 appearances in 1 year at Hannover. Says it all right there. Probably never be another American to play in the Bundesliga so consistently ever again. Top 3 player, easily!


      • Lorenzo

        Beasley and Reyna are both top Americans. Both had high moments and struggling moments (injurings) in Europe. Both played at Man City and Rangers lol Biggest World Cups were in 2002. Both scored in Champions league, both played in Bundesliga, both returned at the end of their careers as DPs for MLS.

        For me, what makes Reyna standout more than Beasley is that America has had less players in Reyna’s mold then Beasley.

        When you talk composure in the center midfield, the only one that comes to mind at Reyna level is O’Brien. Bradley and Jones are good, but Bradley really only when he’s deeper, and Jones is more of a straight forward on the attack player IMO.


      • nate

        In the debate about Reyna v. Beasley what stands out to me is that Reyna was, at the time he played, the best American to ever don the USMNT kit. And Beasley is/was a guy who’s been really solid, in varying roles, for a lot longer than anyone thought.


      • BrianK


        A few things about your assessment:

        Harked and Keller are the ground breakers. Not even close.

        Dolo is a club legend and club Captain and set the standard for ‘one club men’ for the USA. Much love for BMCB but he doesn’t come close to Dolo in these categories.

        Make no mistake,….Donovan could have done whatever he wanted in Europe,…he chose not to. MLS is all the better for his decision.

        BTW – Reyna ‘best 11’ in WC2002 and Harkes Co-MVP of 1995 Copa America,……the two great achievements by male American players ever.


    • nate

      Sorry, Reyna is the second best field player to ever wear the US shirt (and was the single best at the time he played). I can’t respect of even really understand a list that does’t realize that. Also, Keller and Howard are/were better ‘keepers than Friedel.

      I apologize in advance if by “best” you meant something other than, you know, “most skilled at playing the game of football/soccer.”


      • nate

        of=or (2nd sentence)

        Also, I will readily admit my ignorance when it comes to US players before 1990. If you want to make an argument for Rober Millar, Rick Davis, Thomas Florie, or a bunch of other players I only know by name (and one can safely assume 99% of the people responding to this thread have never heard of) go right ahead.

        Lastly, Thomas Dooley probably would just miss my top 5, but he has to be in the top 10, well ahead of Beasley, Dempsey, McBride (whom I love), and several of the other names that are being bandied about. I realize I’m woefully ignorant about US players from the 30s-70s, but it’s pretty depressing how little respect is being paid to those who aren’t even dead yet.


      • Brian I

        Can we really say anyone, even Donovan, is “way ahead” of Dempsey? The guy did score over 50 goals in, at the time, the best league in the world. Not to mention has the second most goals in USMNT history….just saying.


  • gowzahs

    how famous is Cherundolo in Hannover or the Bundesliga?

    Is he respected? when was his peak season with the club? did he ever win a player of the year award or make the league first XI?


    • Chuck Norris

      Absoutely. Steve called me up this afternoon to invite me to join in. Naturally I agreed, even though I warned him it had been a long time since I had kicked anything that didn’t have a face attached. He said that’s fine and besides he could use a player with some teeth to compensate for his “flicks and tricks” left back, Jesus Christ.


      • huh

        maybe he should run for Governor or perhaps even Chancellor after 15 years as Mayor


      • "The TX 2-Stepper" An SBI Original c/o 2008

        Depends on his politics … I hear he’s big on schooling (the opponents), high level competence, major work rate also humbleness and loyalty were pretty big calling cards.

        Yeah, he has no chance at being a politician.


  • MisterJC

    I’m going to miss Dolo. There was a stretch of years where he was clearly our best and most consistent field player. Difference maker. Remember when he got injured and was subbed out of the 2011 Gold Cup against Mexico where we up 2-0? Completely changed the game. Time fore the next generation to take up the mantle. Johnson at RB has made a great start in that regard…


  • "The TX 2-Stepper" An SBI Original c/o 2008

    That 2011 Gold Cup game just hurts my heart over and over again! Why Dolo, why? was that really the beginning of the end? Didn’t all the knee issues kick off during that tourney?


  • THomas

    That picture made me lol so hard. Just kicking a ball at some old goalkeepers face who looks like he’s pooping and confused.


  • OB Rick

    Tied for my all time favorite player (with McBride). Shared a taxi to the airport once with him. The nicest guy you will ever meet.


  • MLS_Soccer_Talker

    Stevie C.

    This guy was SO consistent. So consistent that many fans simply never brought up his name during “Who Should We Start?” Conversations. His name was never penciled in to start; it was Penned!!

    Underrated and Underappreciated, as is the case with most players in non-glamourous positions, but he will go down as the BEST defender ever to don the USMNT shirt.

    Congrats Dolo!!!


  • Matt C

    You know who else had a quiet yet stellar career when you look at his accomplishments…longevity…etc… EDDIE LEWIS. Not top 10 though.


  • Hejduk4President

    That’s awesome! Mount Rushmore of Americans Abroad? Dolo, McBride, Friedel (toss up w Howard), Dempsey for me.


  • x-files lives on

    5 best USA players abroad

    Friedel, Howard, Dempsey, Cherundolo, Reyna

    McBride, Gooch, Beasley are the alternates


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