Former U.S. Men's National Team & LA Galaxy Player, Paul Caligiuri will be honored in Orange County on November 19, 2009 in Santa Ana. November 19, 2009 is Twenty (20) years to the day from which the U.S. Men's National Soccer Team qualified for the 1990 FIFA World Cup held in Italy, its first World Cup appearance since 1950. Caligiuri is best remembered for this game-winning goal 20 years ago which instantly became known as the "Shot heard round the world". The game ended in a 1 goal victory for the US over Trinidad and Tobago on November 19, 1989. Caligiuri also scored the first World Cup goal for the United States in a 5-1 victory against Czechoslovakia (Czech Republic). Caligiuri will be available for comments beginning at 7:00 pm PST and concluding at 7:45 pm PST. The event will be occurring at The Original Mike's in Tustin, CA at 100 S Main St, Santa Ana, CA 92701.
In 2004, Caligiuri was inducted into the U.S. National Soccer Hall of Fame. He has served on the Board of Directors of the US Soccer Federation. Caligiuri has been honored with Hall of Fame distinction at his alma mater, University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). While at UCLA from 1982 to 1985, Caligiuri earned his first cap for the national team, playing October 9, 1984 against El Salvador. During his four seasons with the Bruins, he was twice named an NCAA All-American. He also captained the Bruins to an NCAA Championship his junior year. This was the first NCAA Championship ever awarded to the UCLA soccer program.
Caligiuri eventually tallied 110 appearances for the United States, and scored five goals from his position in the midfield. Caligiuri is truly a pioneer in the contemporary age of American soccer - he was the first American-born player to land a major playing contract overseas in the professional European leagues and also was a major force on the 1990 and 1994 World Cup teams.
It was twenty years ago that a young US team traveled to Trinidad & Tobago and earned an improbable berth to the 1990 World Cup. Twenty years later, winning that game is considered the starting point for the new era of American soccer. After reaching Italia '90, the US successfully hosted the 1994 World Cup (where the team reached the round of 16) and a pro league, Major League Soccer, was launched two years later. Since then, the US has qualified for another four straight World Cup finals and was just 45 minutes away this past June from stunning Brazil and winning the Confederations Cup.