FRISCO, Texas – Atlanta United Vice President and Technical Director Carlos Bocanegra today was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame. The lone member of its 2020 class, Bocanegra was inducted along with the Hall of Fame’s 2021 class featuring U.S. National Team alumni Steve Cherundolo and Jaime Moreno and longtime MLS executive Kevin Payne at a combined ceremony at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas. Fellow 2021 inductee and legendary USWNT defender Christie Pearce Rampone chose to defer her induction until 2022. The Hall of Fame also honored Andrés Cantor, lead play-by-play announcer for Telemundo Deportes, as the 2020 winner of the Colin Jose Media Award.
Bocanegra, who is the 305th person to be enshrined into the Hall of Fame, wore the captain’s armband in 64 of his 110 appearances with the United States Men’s National Team from 2001 to 2012. His 14 international goals are the most by a U.S defender.
For the USMNT, Bocanegra was selected for each of the 2006 and 2010 FIFA World Cups where he appeared in six total matches. He helped lead the USMNT to two Gold Cup victories in 2002 and 2007 and was captain during the U.S. victory against No. 1-ranked Spain at the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup.
Bocanegra retired from play in 2014 after a 15-year career that included more than 200 career appearances in England, France, Scotland, Spain and the United States. A California native, Bocanegra attended collegiate soccer powerhouse UCLA and was drafted by the Chicago Fire in the 2000 MLS SuperDraft. In Chicago, he won the MLS Rookie of the Year Award in 2000 and back-to-back MLS Defender of the Year Awards in 2002 and 2003. The following year, he signed with English Premier League club Fulham, where he played four seasons, during which he became one of the few U.S. players to captain both club and country simultaneously. Following his time with Fulham, Bocanegra moved to France’s Ligue 1, where he played for Rennes and Saint-Etienne until he joined Rangers of the Scottish Premier League until 2013. Following a loan stint with Spain’s Racing Santander, he officially returned to MLS in July 2013 to play for Chivas USA, where he finished his career at the end of the 2014 season.
Following his playing career, Bocanegra was hired as Atlanta United’s Technical Director on March 2, 2015. Bocanegra helped pilot Atlanta to one of the best expansion seasons in MLS history, as the club became the first team to qualify for MLS Cup Playoffs since 2009.
Coming off a historic expansion season, Bocanegra continued to help push the club forward on its way to an extraordinary 2018 season that culminated by winning MLS Cup. The club also qualified for Concacaf Champions League after finishing with the best two-year aggregate record in all of MLS. Bocanegra assembled one of the most prolific attacks in league history, as Atlanta also became just the second team in MLS history to produce back-to-back 70-goal seasons, led by the 2018 MLS MVP Josef Martinez, who broke the league’s single-season scoring record that year.
Atlanta followed its record-breaking 2018 championship season by winning the U.S. Open Cup and becoming the first MLS team to win Campeones Cup in 2019. The team has qualified for the Concacaf Champions League in 2019, 2020 and 2021. In addition to its two trophies in 2019, Atlanta set an MLS record for most points for a defending champion (58).
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.
Last year’s 2020 ceremony was postponed due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic.