Jaime Moreno, Steve Cherundolo, Carlos Bocanegra, Kevin Payne and Andres Cantor were honored at the National Soccer Hall of Fame. (Photo courtesy of the NSHOF)
FRISCO, Texas — The National Soccer Hall of Fame Saturday ay inducted four members — three from the Class of 2021 and one from the Class of 2020.
U.S. men’s national Team alumnus Steve Cherundolo, four-time Major League Soccer champion Jaime Moreno and longtime MLS executive Kevin Payne entered the Hall of Fame from the 2021 class. U.S. national team alumnus Carlos Bocanegra was the lone member of the 2020 class. Hhis induction was postponed last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Former U.S. women’s national team defender Christie Pearce Rampone, who was elected in the Class of 2021, deferred her induction until 2022.
The Hall of Fame also honored Andrés Cantor, lead play-by-play announcer for Telemundo Deportes, as the 2020 winner of the Colin Jose Media Award.
Bocanegra wore the captain’s armband in 64 of his 110 appearances with the USMNT from 2001 to 2012. His 14 international goals are the most by a U.S defender.
“We had a fantastic team of leaders, and it was about having everybody on the same page,” Bocanegra said. “I was fortunate to wear the armband, but it’s never just one guy. You have to have a group of leaders.”
Cherundolo, Bocanegra’s national team teammate and roommate, earned 87 caps and played in two World Cups over a 13-year international career. He played for Hannover 96 of the German Bundesliga for 15 years.
“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’s election came in his first year of eligibility on the Veteran Ballot. He played in MLS for 15 seasons with D.C. United and MetroStars and was an MLS Best XI selection five times.
“The recognition makes you believe that you did the right things,” 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, elected from the Builder Ballot, spent 15 years as president and general manager of D.C. United. During that time, the team won four league championships and two U.S. Open Cup titles.
“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.”
Cantor, known the world over for his iconic “GOOOOOOOOL!” call, has announced games for the last eight men’s FIFA World Cups, the last two Women’s World Cups and a number of Olympic Games dating back to 1984.
“I was extremely blessed to be the one bringing the emotions to American homes,” Cantor said. “I always say that soccer is a game that transcends language because it’s a very passionate game. The passion that we put behind and into the game got many people’s attention.”
The Hall of Fame’s 2022 induction ceremony will take place Saturday, May 21.