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Carlos Bocanegra, Steve Cherundolo among four 2021 inductions into National Soccer Hall of Fame

The National Soccer Hall of Fame received four new members on Saturday with Steve Cherundolo and Carlos Bocanegra headlining the members inducted in Frisco, Texas.

Both former members of the U.S. men’s national team were joined by MLS standout Jaime Moreno and MLS executive Kevin Payne as inductees this weekend. Former USWNT player Christie Pearce Rampone was also part of the 2021 class was deferred her induction to 2022.

Cherundolo earned 87 caps and played in two World Cups for the USMNT over his 13-year international career. The defender played 15 seasons in Germany for Hannover 96 and is the current head coach of USL side Las Vegas Lights.

“It was my job to kind of push the bar forward for American soccer, or more specifically, for Americans who want to play in Germany,” Cherundolo said. “I’m just grateful that I was able to do my part, and now it’s up to the next generation to push it even further.”

The 42-year-old Bocanegra earned 110 caps for the USMNT from 2001-12′, wearing the captain’s armband in 64 of those appearances. He also played in the 2006 and 2010 FIFA World Cups and also scored 14 goals for the National Team, the most ever by an American defender.

After retiring as a player, Bocanegra became Atlanta United’s technical director in 2015 and has continued holding the position since.

“We had a fantastic team of leaders, and it was about having everybody on the same page,” said Bocanegra. “I was fortunate to wear the armband, but it’s never just one guy. You have to have a group of leaders.”

Moreno played in MLS for 15 seasons and was a Best XI selection five times, winning four MLS Cup titles during two stints with D.C. United. The Bolivian international also played in England, Colombia, and his native Bolivia during his club career and finished with nine goals in 75 caps for the Bolivian National Team.

“The recognition makes you believe that you did the right things,” the 47-year-old Moreno said. “It’s been so long since I retired and people are still thinking about me — that tells me that I did the right things, and I’m very proud.”

Payne served as former president and general manager of Toronto FC while earning most of his achievements with D.C. United. During his 15 seasons with D.C. United, Payne watched as the team won four league championships and two U.S. Open Cup titles.

He is also chairman of the technical committee and board member for the U.S. Soccer Federation and vice chairman of the U.S. Soccer Foundation.

“I wanted to make a difference in our sport,” Payne said. “I wanted to accomplish something. I wanted to leave something behind which would live on after I was gone. I’ve tried my best. I hope I’ve succeeded.”

 

Comments

  1. Since you only have to be retired for 3 seasons to be eligible for induction into the HOF, one can only wonder why it took so long for Bocanegra and Cherundolo to be selected. They both retired in 2014 and should have been inducted as soon as they were eligible.

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