Atlanta United vice president and technical director Carlos Bocanegra, D.C. United legend Jaime Moreno, former D.C. United executive Kevin Payne and ex-US men's national team defender Steve Cherundolo were all inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame during a ceremony in Frisco, Texas, on Saturday.
Moreno, Payne and Cherundolo were inducted as part of the 2021 class, while Bocanegra took his place in the Hall of Fame as the sole inductee from the 2020 class. Last year's ceremony was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Moreno is honored as one of the true early stars of MLS, playing 15 seasons in the league, from its inaugural year in 1996 through to 2010.
“The recognition makes you believe that you did the right things,” Moreno said as he was inducted. “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.”
Moreno, a longtime Bolivia international, enjoyed his greatest success with D.C. United. He was an MLS Best XI selection in 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005 and 2006 and an MLS Cup winner in 1996, 1997, 1999 and 2004 with D.C. He also won the U.S. Open Cup in 1996 and 2008, as well as the Concacaf Champions Cup in 1998 – all with D.C.
Last year, Moreno was named as one of The 25 Greatest presented by AT&T, honoring the 25 greatest players in MLS' first 25 years.
Bocanegra is honored for a career that saw him make 110 appearances for the USMNT between 2001 and 2012, wearing the captain's armband in 64 of those games. His club career took him to several top leagues across top Europe and was bookended by spells in MLS, with Chicago Fire FC and Chivas USA.
“We had a fantastic team of leaders, and it was about having everybody on the same page,” Bocanegra said of his time with the USMNT. “I was fortunate to wear the armband, but it's never just one guy. You have to have a group of leaders.”
Payne spent 15 glory-laden seasons as president and general manager of D.C. United, first from 1996 through 2001 and then from 2004 through 2012. During that time, D.C. United won MLS Cup in 1996, 1997, 1999 and 2004, as well as the U.S. Open Cup in 1996 and 2008.
From 2001 to 2004, Payne was an executive of Anshutz Entertainment Group, which owned several MLS clubs at the time. In the 2013 season, he served as president of Toronto FC.
“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.”
One of the USMNT's all-time greats, Cherundulo made 87 appearances for his country and in 2013 was selected as the right back in the USMNT's All-Time Best XI. A participant in seven World Cup games, across 2006 and 2010, Cherundolo spent his entire club career with German side Hannover, becoming the club's all-time appearance leader with 302 at the time of his retirement.
Now an aspiring coach, Cherundolo returned to the US earlier this year to take the reins of LAFC's USL affiliate Las Vegas Lights.
Also on Saturday, legendary play-by-play announcer Andrés Cantor was honored as the 2020 winner of the Colin Jose Media Award. US women's national team great Christie Pearce Rampone, who was elected in the Class of 2021, deferred her induction until 2022.