Carlos Bocanegra elected to National Soccer Hall of Fame

Carlos Bocanegra at Atlanta United FC event

The National Soccer Hall of Fame has announced that former US men's national team captain Carlos Bocanegra is the lone member of its 2020 class.

Bocanegra, who's currently the vice president and technical director for Atlanta United, 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 was originally scheduled for September 19, but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic

Bocanegra captained the USMNT for 64 of his 110 appearances from 2001-12, and his 14 international goals lead all US defenders. He highlighted the USMNT's group-stage win over Algeria at the 2010 FIFA World Cup as a career highlight, when Landon Donovan's late game-winner sent them through to the knockout round.

NSHOF_Carlos Bocanegra_Class 2020

"I think one of the really cool things was in 2010, when we scored that goal at the end to beat Algeria, you saw images of that all around our country at different watch parties," Bocanegra said. "That was something that we didn’t get to see until like three, four, five days later because the internet wasn’t fantastic down there, it wasn’t super fast, but then these videos started to surface and it was something that just made me smile and it makes me smile when I think back on it because it was one goal, one game, one little piece of sport that we were able to bring so much joy and happiness to so many people in the United States.

"To be able to represent the country and be a part of that group, part of that team and for one day bring some cheer to the country, that was pretty amazing to feel what sport can do for a country. That’s something I’ll never forget."

After a standout college career at UCLA, Bocanegra started his professional career with the Chicago Fire, where he took home MLS Rookie of the Year honors in 2000 and was named MLS Defender of the Year in 2002 and 2003. He played overseas in the English Premier League, France’s Ligue 1 and Scotland’s Premier League before two final seasons in MLS with now-defunct Chivas USA prior to his retirement in 2014.

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), and now he wants to keep growing soccer.

"I’m very proud," Bocangera said. "It’s been my whole adult life, and as a kid as well, playing soccer and being a part of this sport. I’m very fortunate now to work in the game here with Atlanta United and I love it. I want to give back, I want to continue to build the game and grow it like so many others before me did and gave me these opportunities. I’m real proud to be a part of history and this is a great honor."