National Soccer Hall of Fame Class of 2018 Surprised and Celebrated in Day-Long Celebration
FRISCO - The National Soccer Hall of Fame Class of 2018 is now official.
Four new members - U.S. Men’s National Team goalkeeper Brad Friedel, U.S. Women’s National Team midfielder Cindy Parlow Cone and forward Tiffany Milbrett, and former U.S. Soccer President Dr. Bob Contiguglia - all were honored throughout the day, along with MLS Commissioner Don Garber, who was elected in 2016 but opted to defer his enshrinement to 2018 to honor Lamar Hunt.
The day kicked off in Manhattan with MLS Senior Vice President of Competition and Player Relations Jeff Agoos (Class of ’09) surprising Garber during a MLS staff meeting with a commemorative scarf and coin that each of the recipients received throughout the day. FC Dallas Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt made a special appearance via teleconference to congratulate the league’s leader since 1999.
“I was really surprised a couple years ago when I was both nominated and accepted in the Hall,” Garber told Hunt during their conversation. “Even sitting here today, I know how moving it’s going to be for me to be in a place that your family has built, that has your dad’s statue outside and allow me to kind of stand on the shoulders of everybody before me that’s built this game.”
As the day rolled on, new members of the 2018 class were informed of their election by current Hall of Famers who either played, worked with or currently work with the Inductees.
In Foxborough, Mass., Friedel’s former U.S. MNT teammate Tab Ramos (Class of ’05) surprised the Revolution head coach at the conclusion of a morning training session. Revs President Brian Bilello, General Manager Mike Burns and Investor/Operator Jonathan Kraft were also on hand for the surprise.
“I never played for the personal accolades. It was a team scenario and if the awards ever come, you accept them humbly,” the former goalkeeper said. “It’s truly an honor.”
As the early afternoon struck in Raleigh, N.C., UNC head coach Anson Dorrance (Class of ‘08) informed Parlow Cone during a North Carolina FC Youth staff meeting. UNC assistant women’s soccer coach Bill Palladino, Cindy’s former USWNT teammate Carla Overbeck as well as her husband, John, and son, Steve, were also in attendance for the announcement.
"I had no idea. I saw Anson [Dorrance] coming up the stairs and I was like, 'Why is Anson here for club meetings?'" Parlow Cone said. "It’s such a huge honor. I mean the people that have come before me and allowed me this opportunity, not just to be in the Hall of Fame but throughout my entire life. I mean I just turned 40 and I’ve been in this sport since I was three. So just the people that I’ve looked up to that are already in the Hall of Fame and some of them that aren’t in the Hall of Fame. It’s such a huge honor to be mentioned in the same breath as some of these people."
During a National Soccer Hall of Fame technology meeting in Manassas, Va., former U.S. Soccer Secretary General Hank Steinbrecher (Class of ’05) informed Dr. Contiguglia of his honor. A group of representatives from the Hall of Fame marveled at an interactive monitor that will soon showcase the names and biographies of every National Soccer Hall of Famer in Frisco. When Dr. Contiguglia’s image appeared, it symbolized his rightful place among the honorees.
“I’m very grateful to all the people who voted, who thought enough of me to be part of this,” Dr. Contiguglia said. “I’m just so very grateful to be a part of the soccer community over the years. Certainly they are as important to me as the Hall of Fame recognition.”
To close out Induction Announcement Day, in Portland, Ore., Brandi Chastain (Class of ’16) surprised former U.S. WNT teammate Milbrett during a gathering with friends and family in the forward’s hometown.
"I don’t even know what to think to be honest," Milbrett said. "I just feel really fortunate. I really do. I’m thankful. And all the people coming in here that really have been a big part of life. I think as you get older, obviously, your reflective eye sharpens. And you remember more than when you’re in the grind. It’s just a great start of remembering the journey even more."