Carlos Bocanegra Elected to National Soccer Hall of Fame
FRISCO, Texas — The National Soccer Hall of Fame today announced that former UCLA standout and U.S. Men's National Team captain Carlos Bocanegra is the lone member of its 2020 class. Bocanegra will be inducted along with the Hall of Fame's 2021 class at a combined ceremony next year at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas. This year's ceremony, which was scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 19, was postponed due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bocanegra becomes the sixth former Bruin player or coach to be enshrined into the National Soccer Hall of Fame, joining Brad Friedel (inducted in 2018), Sigi Schmid (2015), Joe Max-Moore (2013), Cobi Jones (2011), and Paul Caligiuri (2004). He is the 305th person overall to be enshrined into the Hall of Fame. Bocanegra, who played for the USMNT in the 2006 and 2010 World Cups, is currently Atlanta United's technical director.
His 15-year professional career began as MLS Rookie of the Year with the Chicago Fire in 2000. After winning MLS Defender of the Year in 2002 and 2003, he moved to Europe for stints in England's Premier League, France's Ligue 1 and Scotland's Premier League before two final seasons (2013-2014) in MLS.
The National Soccer Hall of Fame voting committee determined the 2020 class from a list of 42 finalists on the players ballot, 12 on the veterans ballot and 10 finalists in the builder ballot. Bocanegra was named on 68.5 percent of ballots; the threshold for election is 66.7 percent.
Wearing the captain's armband 64 times for the United States Men's National Team, Bocanegra was selected for each of the 2006 and 2010 FIFA World Cups where he appeared in six total matches. Tied for 10th all-time in U.S. Soccer history with 110 caps, his 14 career international goals are the most all-time for an American defender. Bocanegra helped lead the USMNT to two Gold Cup victories in 2002 and 2007 and was captain during the U.S. victory against No. 1-ranked Spain at the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup.
Bocanegra retired from play in 2014 after a 15-year career that included more than 200 career appearances in England, France, Scotland and the United States.
A Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. native, Bocanegra was a three-year standout at UCLA, helping the the Bruins to the 1997 National Championship and 1999 College Cup as part of a career that included three all-conference honors, national Best XI status as a sophomore in 1998, and All-American and Player of the Year nominations as a junior in 1999.
He turned pro after his junior campaign, and was selected No. 4 overall in the 2000 MLS SuperDraft by the Chicago Fire. In Chicago, he won the MLS Rookie of the Year Award in 2000 and back-to-back MLS Defender of the Year Awards in 2002 and 2003.
The following year, he signed with English Premier League club Fulham, where he played four seasons, during which he became one of the few U.S. players to captain both club and country simultaneously. Following his time with Fulham, Bocanegra moved to France's Ligue 1, where he played for Rennes and Saint-Etienne until he joined Rangers of the Scottish Premier League until 2013.
In July 2013, he officially returned to MLS to play for Chivas USA, where he finished his career holding the all-time record for most international goals scored by a U.S. defender.
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