On Thursday morning the National Soccer Hall of Fame began unveiling its 2018 induction class, ahead of this year’s Hall of Fame Weekend at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas, set for Oct. 20.
Part of a $55 million renovation at the home of FC Dallas, the National Soccer Hall of Fame is a public-private partnership among FCD, the City of Frisco, Frisco Independent School District and U.S. Soccer.
The celebration on Oct. 20 will also include the 2018 Hall of Fame game, an MLS match featuring FC Dallas and Sporting Kansas City, an NASL Legends game to mark that league's 50th anniversary, and a concert headlined by Imagine Dragons.
The first honoree of the day was the leader of Major League Soccer – and the architect of the league as we know it today.
Commissioner Don Garber was announced as the first member of the 2018 class, with his MLS colleague and fellow Hall of Famer Jeff Agoos springing a surprise at the league’s offices in Manhattan to present him with the trappings of his induction, a commemorative scarf and coin.
Garber was technically elected to the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2016, but opted to defer his official enshrinement until the new Hall of Fame was open to honor the Hunt family and their commitment to soccer in the United States. He enters under the Builder category.
.@MLS Commissioner Don Garber thought he was settling in for a routine meeting, until Hall of Famer and colleague @JeffAgoos walked in...— National Soccer HOF (@soccerhof) May 31, 2018
Welcome to the Hall of Fame, Commissioner! #NSHOF18 pic.twitter.com/YkfgtahC0y
Garber was named commissioner of Major League Soccer in 1999, and in the nearly two decades under his guidance, the league has grown dramatically in many ways. MLS had only 10 member teams when he took over, and currently has 23 clubs competing today across the United States and Canada, as well as three expansion sides on the way, with 22 new owners coming on board during his tenure.
The Queens, New York native also played a large part in bolstering the league’s visibility and popularity by negotiating long-term broadcast deals with ESPN, FOX and Univision as well as international partnerships with major broadcasters in Canada, Europe, Asia and South America. In addition, Garber serves as CEO of Soccer United Marketing, the commercial arm of MLS and multiple soccer properties.
Garber led the process that saw 19 soccer stadiums constructed in the United States and Canada, with five more soccer venues set to open in the coming years, a major factor in MLS’ average attendance growing from some 14,000 fans per game when he became commissioner to more than 22,000 today.
Thursday’s next stop was Foxborough, Massachusetts, where legendary goalkeeper and current New England Revolution head coach Brad Friedel was the next inductee to be revealed, via an introduction from his former US national team colleague Tab Ramos.
One of the best players in USMNT history, Friedel had a decorated club career that spanned more than two decades, including 17 seasons in the English Premier League and 13 years with the national team.
After starting his pro career with Galatasaray and Columbus Crew SC, Friedel moved to England in 1997 and would make 450 league appearances in that country’s top flight with Liverpool (1997-2000), Blackburn Rovers (2001-08), Aston Villa (2008-11) and Tottenham Hotspur (2011-15).
Along the way he earned 82 international caps and was a member of three U.S. World Cup squads (1994, 1998 and 2002) and two Olympic Games (1992 and 2000). Friedel was elected into the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility, and is currently in his first season in charge of the Revs.
Cindy Parlow Cone
Thursday’s Hall of Fame unveiling moved on to Cary, North Carolina, where longtime US women’s national team standout Cindy Parlow Cone was the next honoree to be celebrated. A rangy midfielder with an eye for goal, Parlow Cone turned heads in college when she attained the rare achievement of winning two Hermann Trophies (the award given to NCAA soccer’s top player) to help UNC win two national championships before moving on to a prolific club and international career.
Scoring 75 goals in 158 international appearances, she helped the USWNT women win the World Cup in 1999 and third place in 2003 as well as two Olympic gold medals and a silver medal.
As a coach, she worked as an assistant to Anson Dorrance as the Tar Heels won four NCAA championships and served on the staff of the US U-14 and U-15 girls’ national teams. In 2013 she led the Portland Thorns to the NWSL championship in that league’s inaugural season, and today works as a director in North Carolina FC’s youth academy.
Dr. Robert Contiguglia
The tour then headed to Manassas, Va., as Dr. Bob Contiguglia was the next honoree announced. The nephrologist played collegiate soccer at Columbia University and continued his lifelong passion for the sport, culminating in his tenure as US Soccer president from 1998 to 2006. In that span, the United States hosted the 1999 Women's World Cup, won by the host country in iconic fashion, and then offering and successfully hosting the next Women's World Cup, in 2003, on an emergency basis after China was unable to host.
Recognizing a giant in our sport.— U.S. Soccer (@ussoccer) May 31, 2018
Former U.S. Soccer secretary general Hank Steinbrecher (and a bit of high tech) delivered the #NSHOF18 news to the newest @SoccerHOF member..
Congrats, Dr. Bob Contiguglia! 👏 pic.twitter.com/rIZ4nBKYAh
Contiguglia holds an 'A' USSF coaching license, has served extensively as a youth coach and youth soccer administrator, capped off by his stint as US Youth Soccer president from 1990 to 1996. The Long Island native, who has spent much of his adult life in Colorado, was a member of the US Soccer Federation board of directors from 1990 until earlier this year.
The final stop of the national tour on Thursday was Portland, Ore., where local native Tiffeny Milbrett was informed of her induction in the National Soccer Hall of Fame.
Milbrett was a US international from 1991-2006, winning the 1999 Women's World Cup and the 1996 and 2000 Olympics gold medals. All told, she scored 100 goals in 206 appearances for the USWNT, and she is one of just two women to have scored at least 100 goals in NCAA play and on the international stage -- Mia Hamm Garciaparra is the other.
Milbrett played college soccer for her hometown Portland Pilots, and played professionally in Japan (Shiroki FC Serena), Sweden (Sunnana SK, Linkopings FC), Canada (Vancouver Whitecaps Women), and the US (New York Power, FC Gold Pride).
Milbrett currently works in youth soccer, serving as Colorado Storm director of coaching at the U-16/17 level.