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Carlos Bocanegra lone inductee to Soccer Hall for 2020

United States' Carlos Bocanegra (3) celebrates after scoring the winning goal against Honduras in a 2010 World Cup qualifier match in Chicago. Former U.S. national team defender Bocanegra will be the lone inductee to the National Soccer Hall of Fame for 2020.   (Associated Press)
United States' Carlos Bocanegra (3) celebrates after scoring the winning goal against Honduras in a 2010 World Cup qualifier match in Chicago. Former U.S. national team defender Bocanegra will be the lone inductee to the National Soccer Hall of Fame for 2020.  (Associated Press)
By Anne M. Peterson Associated Press

Former U.S. national team defender Carlos Bocanegra will be the lone inductee to the National Soccer Hall of Fame for 2020.

Bocanegra, currently technical director for Atlanta United, will be enshrined in a ceremony with the 2021 class next year at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas.

Originally scheduled for Saturday, this year’s ceremony was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Bocanegra played for the national team from 2001 to 2012, making 110 appearances, 64 as captain. He scored 14 goals, the most by any U.S. defender.

“I was not expecting this. It’s a huge honor. Still a little bit surprised and I don’t like being surprised too much, especially in front of the whole team,” said Bocanegra, who was surprised by former teammate Tim Howard during a video training session with Atlanta players.

“It’s a huge honor. I loved representing the country, especially on the global stage, being able to play in the World Cup. I have so many memories of that. And then look, just being able to play soccer for a job,” he added.

His 15-year professional career included stints with Fulham in the English Premier League, and Rennes and Saint-Etienne in Ligue 1 in France. He played his final two seasons in the United States with Chivas USA.

He was hired by Atlanta United in 2015, helping the team to the 2018 MLS Cup title.

He is the 305th player inducted into the Hall of Fame. There were 42 players, 12 veterans and 10 builders on the ballot, but Bocanegra was the only person who reached the required threshold of 66.7% of the ballots submitted.

Among those who did not reach the threshold were Hope Solo and Steve Cherundolo. Last year, Abby Wambach was the only player inducted.

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