Major League Soccer and US men’s national team legends DaMarcus Beasley and Landon Donovan are part of the National Soccer Hall of Fame’s Class of 2023, it was announced Saturday.
The news was delivered live on FS1’s FIFA World Cup broadcast in Qatar by Clint Dempsey, their longtime USMNT teammate and a member of the Hall of Fame’s Class of 2022.
“Welcome to the club,” Dempsey said in celebration.
Both were elected in their first year of eligibility, and they’ll be formally inducted during a ceremony May 6 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas. They’ll be joined by former US women’s national team midfielder Lauren Cheney Holiday, whose election was announced Tuesday.
Beasley made 126 appearances (seventh-most in program history) for the USMNT from 2001-17 and was the first American man to play in four World Cups, plus won five Concacaf Gold Cups. He played 11 MLS seasons, starring for both Chicago Fire FC and Houston Dynamo FC while winning three US Open Cups and a Supporters' Shield.
The Indiana native retired after the 2019 MLS season, a career that also spanned time overseas in the Dutch Eredivisie (PSV), English Premier League (Manchester City), Scottish Premier League (Rangers), German Bundesliga (Hannover 96) and Liga MX (Puebla). He mainly played anywhere on the left flank, from defense to forward.
Donovan earned 157 USMNT caps, second only to Cobi Jones, and his 57 goals are tied with Dempsey for the program lead. He played at three World Cups and one Olympic Games, plus won four Gold Cups. In many respects, the former midfielder and forward is considered the greatest-ever American men’s player.
The California native played 15 seasons in MLS with the San Jose Earthquakes and LA Galaxy, earning seven Best XI selections and winning six MLS Cups. The MLS MVP award is named after Donovan, who holds the league’s assist record (136) and trails only Chris Wondolowski for the league’s goals record (145).
Donovan, who most memorably played overseas for Premier League side Everton, shared a story of his bond with Beasley, stemming from the 2002 World Cup in South Korea/Japan.
“One of my favorite memories of all time is 2002,” Donovan said on FS1. “I don’t know if you remember, but walking down the tunnel for our first game against Portugal. And we had been together at that point for five years, growing through everything. I remember looking at Beas and looking at each other like ‘Holy, from where we came from to make it this far?’”