Former U.S. Men’s National Team teammates Carlos Bocanegra and Steve Cherundolo were among four people inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame on Saturday.
Former MLS standout Jaime Moreno and former MLS executive Kevin Payne were also enshrined during the ceremony at Frisco, Texas.
Former U.S Women’s National Team player Christie Pearce Rampone also was part of the class of 2021 but deferred her induction to 2022.
Bocanegra is a member of the class of 2020 while Cherundolo, Moreno and Payne are part of the 2021 class.
Bocanegra, 42, wore the captain’s armband in 64 of his 110 appearances with the USMNT from 2001-12. He played in two World Cups (2006, 2010) and his 14 international goals are the most ever by an American defender.
“We had a fantastic team of leaders, and it was about having everybody on the same page,” said Bocanegra, now the technical director of the Atlanta United. “I was fortunate to wear the armband, but it’s never just one guy. You have to have a group of leaders.”
Cherundolo, 42, made 87 appearances for USMNT and also played in the 2006 and 2010 World Cups. He played overseas in Germany for 15 seasons before retiring in 2014.
“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.”
Moreno played 15 MLS seasons (1996-2010) and was part of four title teams. He ranks fourth in MLS history with 133 goals. He was selected for induction on the Veteran Ballot.
“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, selected via the Builder Ballot, spent 15 years as president and CEO of D.C. United in two stints (1996-2001, 2004-12) winning four MLS crowns.
“I wanted to make a difference in our sport,” the 68-year-old 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.”
–Field Level Media