It was a different time in 1996, when "Friends" was a cultural smash and Netscape was the top search engine. Soccer in America hadn't found its home yet – but history was being forged by a group of pioneers.
They were the original MLSers, the first players to take the field in North America's nascent top-flight league. Exactly 20 years ago today, D.C. United and the San Jose Clash met in the league's inaugural match and, in the process, changed American soccer forever.
In preparation for Wednesday's live stream of the match – 20 years to the second after it was originally played – we take a look at what the men of the hour on that historic day are up to now.
San Jose Clash
Before joining the Clash via tryout in 1996, Liner played professionally in Austria with SK Kallein and PSV Schwartz Weiss. He played two seasons with the Clash before retiring. Liner is currently the head coach of the Foothill College men's soccer team.
Dayak, who became the first player traded in MLS history after insisting he would retire rather than leave his home in California, appeared in nearly 140 matches for the San Jose Clash and Earthquakes between 1996 and 2005. Cowboy, as he's affectionately known by Earthquakes fans, is heavily involved in the Bay Area's thriving youth soccer scene.
Like Dayak, Doyle was a Bay Area native and veteran of its soccer scene, having played for the APSL powerhouse San Francisco Blackhawks between 1989 and 1990 and again in 1992. In five seasons in San Jose, Doyle appeared in 135 matches. He is currently the general manager of the San Jose Earthquakes.
A Nigerian international who appeared in the 1994 World Cup and who graduated from Boston University in 1989, Emenalo played two seasons in San Jose before finishing his career with stints in both Spain and Israel. He is currently the technical director at English Premier League club Chelsea FC.
Martin, a lifetime Bay Area resident, played for the Clash between 1996 and 1998. In his final professional season in 2000, Martin played for the Bay Area Seals, then in the USL, and earned himself a USL Defender of the Year award. He continues to live and work in San Jose.
Bravo played only one season for the Clash before moving to the Colorado Rapids for the 1997 MLS season. That year, Bravo helped lead the Rapids to their first-ever MLS Cup final appearance. He went on to score 39 regular-season goals for the Rapids. Bravo is now that team's technical director.
Iroha, a Nigerian international who played in both the 1994 and 1998 World Cups, played two seasons in San Jose. Ironically, he finished that 1997 season with D.C. United before finishing his career in Spain and England. After his retirement, Iroha began coaching in his native Nigeria.
In 1996, Chilean Victor Mella played only 5 times for the Clash, but he returned to the team in 1998 after a stint with the New England Revolution. He ended his career in 2002 with Chile's Club Deportivo Magallanes.
Rodas, a Guatemalan international, played just one season with the San Jose Clash, scoring one goal in 29 appearances. In 1997, he returned to his homeland to play professionally for Comunicaciones Fútbol Club Sociedad Anonima. Rodas ended his career in 2008 with Guatemalan side Aurora FC.
Between 1996 and 1999, Baicher appeared in over 100 matches for the Clash, scoring 20 goals. He went on to play for both the New England Revolution and Kansas City Wizards. Baicher, who grew up down the road from Spartan Stadium in Sunnyvale, California, retired to the Bay Area, where he is now the Director of Coaching at powerhouse youth club DeAnza Force.
A veteran of three World Cups who had played professionally in Germany, Wynalda spent his first four seasons in MLS with the Clash, scoring 21 goals in nearly 60 appearances. He went on to play for the Miami Fusion, New England Revolution and Chicago Fire. He is currently an analyst with Fox Sports.
Holocher would make only three more appearances for the Clash, scoring one goal. After retiring as a player in 1998, Holocher took his first coaching job with UC Santa Cruz, moving on to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 2006. He now works as an academy coach with the San Jose Earthquakes.
Lewis, a rookie in 1996, went on to appear in over 100 matches for the Clash. In 2000, Lewis moved to English club Fulham FC, later becoming a club legend with English side Preston North End. A longtime US national team standout who took part in two World Cups, he returned to MLS in 2008 with the LA Galaxy. Since his retirement, Lewis has moved into both business and coaching and was recently nominated for the 2016 National Soccer Hall of Fame ballot.
When Calloway took over the Clash in 1996, he had already spent nearly two decades in management across the American professional scene. His time with the Clash, however, came to an abrupt end when he was fired midway through the 1997 season. Calloway continued coaching professionally until 2012, when he left the PDL's Des Moines Menace. He currently coaches youth soccer in Palm Beach, Florida.
Causey played for both D.C. United and the New England Revolution in his seven MLS seasons. After his playing career, Causey briefly worked as an assistant coach. He is currently a financial adviser in Charlottesville, Virginia.
In his distinguished playing career, Agoos won five MLS Cup titles with D.C. United and the San Jose Earthquakes. In 2001, Agoos was named MLS Defender of the Year in 2001 and played three matches for the US national team in the 2002 World Cup. He is currently back with MLS as its Director of Competition.
The opening match against the San Jose Clash proved Fazlagić's only start for D.C. United. He would make one more appearance for the team before injuries cut his career short at only 27 years old. Since 2009, Fazlagić has served with Bosnia and Herzegovina's Olympic Committee.
Gori – a native of Rosario, Argentina – appeared 45 times for D.C. United in three seasons with the team. He later played for the Miami Fusion, New England Revolution, Columbus Crew and Pittsburgh Riverhounds before retiring from soccer in 2003.
Lee, a veteran of the Major Indoor Soccer League and the American Professional Soccer League, played only two matches for United in one season in MLS. Lee went on to play two more seasons in the indoor leagues before retiring to a more lucrative career in commercial real estate.
A Bolivian soccer legend, Etcheverry spent eight seasons with United, in which time he amassed three MLS Cup trophies, 34 goals, more than 100 assists, and an MLS MVP award in 1998. Since his retirement in 2003, Etcheverry has returned to his native Bolivia and begun a career in coaching.
Harkes, a veteran of the 1990 and 1994 World Cups, captained D.C. United to back-to-back MLS Cup victories in 1996 and 1997. Harkes played three more MLS seasons with the New England Revolution and two more for Columbus Crew SC before retiring. He is currently the head coach of FC Cincinnati in the USL.
Medved was already an experienced player by the time he landed with D.C. United in 1996, having played in the MISL, APSL and A-League. He played one season with United and later joined the Clash for two seasons. He is currently a youth soccer coach and mortgage broker in the San Francisco Bay Area.
In his first five seasons in MLS with D.C. United, Williams appeared in nearly 150 matches and won three MLS Cup trophies. He later played for the New York MetroStars, United again, and the Richmond Kickers, before moving on to coaching in 2005. He is currently an assistant coach with Real Salt Lake.
Raul Diaz Arce
In his two seasons with D.C. United, the Salvadoran striker was incredibly prolific, scoring 46 goals in only 50 appearances. Diaz Arce went on to play for the Revolution, Clash, Mutiny, United (again), and Rapids in MLS. Diaz Arce now coaches youth soccer in the Atlanta area.
Juan Berthy Suárez
Brought in by United to accompany his fellow Bolivian Etcheverry, Berthy Suárez made only one other appearance for United. He returned to his home country later in 1996, joining Bolivian club The Strongest, where he made more than 100 appearances between 1996 and 2000.
Huwiler, who first played for Bruce Arena at the University of Virginia and later with the US U-23s at the 1996 Summer Olympics, played only one season at United. He moved onto the A-League and retired as a professional after the 1998 season. He currently lives and works in his hometown of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Like Huwiler, Imler was also a veteran of Bruce Arena's University of Virginia powerhouse as well as the 1996 Olympic team. He made 19 appearances for United in '96 and later played for the New England Revolution and Charleston Battery. He currently works for athletic company Kwik Goal and blogs about player development.
In 1996, Arena did double duty, coaching both D.C. United and the U.S. men's Olympic team. With United, Arena won two MLS Cup championships before taking over the USMNT in 1998. He is currently the head coach of the LA Galaxy, where he has won three more MLS Cup titles.