They will be inducted at a ceremony Oct. 2 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas, along with former U.S. Men’s National Team captain Carlos Bocanegra and Colin Jose Media Award Winner Andrés Cantor, whose 2020 inductions were postponed due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic. The ceremony will take place inside the National Soccer Hall of Fame, which is powered by NEC, followed by the Hall of Fame game between FC Dallas and Minnesota United FC and a concert featuring Willie Nelson.
Class of 2019 Hall of Famer Abby Wambach surprised Pearce Rampone, her former USWNT teammate, with the news of her election at Pearce Rampone’s home in Manasquan, New Jersey. A defender who earned 311 caps and played in five World Cups over a 19-year international career, Pearce Rampone was elected in her first year of eligibility after also playing all of the first 11 seasons in U.S. women’s professional soccer leagues.
Cherundolo was informed by Tim Howard and Taylor Twellman at halftime of ESPN’s broadcast of the friendly between the United States and Costa Rica. A defender who earned 87 caps and played in two World Cups over a 13-year international career, Cherundolo played 15 seasons in Germany for Hannover 96.
Moreno’s former D.C. United teammate and Hall of Famer John Harkes (’05) informed him during halftime of Univision’s broadcast of the USA/Costa Rica match. Moreno’s election came in his first year of eligibility on the Veteran Ballot. Moreno played in MLS for 15 seasons with D.C. United and MetroStars and was an MLS Best XI selection five times.
Former U.S. Soccer President and Hall of Famer Sunil Gulati (’19) along with New England Revolution head coach and Hall of Famer Bruce Arena (’10) surprised Payne with the news of his election to the Hall of Fame from the Builder Ballot during a lunch meeting in Mount Pleasant, S.C. During Payne’s 15 seasons as president and general manager of D.C. United, the team won four league championships and two U.S. Open Cup titles.
The National Soccer Hall of Fame voting committee determined the 2021 class with new voting rules and procedures, which were created to provide more consistency in the screening of candidates and within voting pools. Selection committees for the Player, Veteran and Builder categories narrowed the list of candidates from 245 people to 40 finalists before voting committees in each category elected the four new Hall of Famers.
CHRISTIE PEARCE RAMPONE, PLAYER Eligibility Criteria: 311 appearances for U.S. Women’s National Team and 11 women’s professional seasons with 2 Best XI selections Career: A defender who played 19 years for the U.S. Women’s National Team, including five Women’s World Cups, and played all of the first 11 seasons of women’s professional league soccer in the United States. Pearce Rampone played 311 games for the United States between her debut against Australia in 1997 and her final game against Haiti in 2015. Those included 19 games in five World Cups, 22 games in four Olympic Games and 13 World Cup qualifiers. She was a mainstay of the U.S. defense for most of those years, and in addition to her three Olympic gold medals (2004, 2008 and 2012), she was the only person to play for both the United States team that won the Women’s World Cup in 1999 and the one that won it in 2015. She was captain on field of the U.S. teams in the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games and the 2011 World Cup. Of the women who played in the first season of women’s pro league soccer in the United States, in the Women’s United Soccer Association in 2001, Pearce Rampone was the only one who played all three seasons of the WUSA, all three seasons of WPS and the first five seasons of the NWSL (two other players played the first nine of those 11 seasons, but then retired). The majority of those years were spent with Sky Blue in New Jersey, all five of her NWSL seasons and two of her WPS seasons. She also played three WUSA seasons for New York and one WPS season for magicJack. In 2009, she was both captain of Sky Blue and interim coach during the playoffs as the New Jersey team won the WPS title. She was a NWSL first-team all-star in 2013 and 2014. During her 11 first-division seasons, she played 182 regular-season games and six playoff games. Pearce Rampone, who was captain of the U.S. women’s national team for eight years, was one of the leaders of the “soccer mom” movement in the USWNT, with two daughters born during her national team years. In 2013, she was one of three then-active players, along with Abby Wambach and Alex Morgan, named to the all-time U.S. women’s national team Best XI chosen by the USSF. In 2014 she became only the second player in world soccer history, after Kristine Lilly, to reach 300 caps.
STEVE CHERUNDOLO, PLAYER Eligibility Criteria: 87 appearances for U.S. Men’s National Team Career: A defender who was honored as one of the U.S. Men’s National Team’s all-time greats and was among the best of the many American players to star in Europe, Cherundolo, who was elected in 2013 as the right back on the USMNT All-Time Best XI, played 87 full internationals for the United States between 1999 and 2012. Those included 26 World Cup qualifiers in 2001, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2009 and 2012, and seven World Cup games in 2006 and 2010. In 2010, he played every minute of all four of the United States’ games at the World Cup. In addition to playing in the 2006 and 2010 World Cups, he also was a member of the United States squad at the 2002 World Cup. Perhaps Cherundolo’s greatest moment in a U.S. uniform came in the United States’ game against Slovenia in the 2010 World Cup, when his long through pass down the right-side sprung Landon Donovan loose on his way to scoring a key goal. Usually, however, he was a stay-at-home defender who scored only two goals in his 87 games for the United States and only seven in his 15 years with Hannover 96. His value to the USMNT may have been displayed most sharply at the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup final against Mexico, when the U.S. lost, 4-2, after having led by 2-0 when Cherundolo had to be replaced because of an injury. Cherundolo played 15 seasons in German professional leagues, all of them for Hannover 96, between 1999 and 2013. The last 12 of those seasons were in the first division, after he helped Hannover to gain promotion in the 2001-02 season. At the time of his retirement, he was the longest-serving player in the Bundesliga and was Hannover’s all-time leader in Bundesliga appearances with 302. During his last four seasons with Hannover, he was the main captain of the team, a role that caused him to be nicknamed “The Mayor of Hannover” by American fans.
JAIME MORENO, VETERAN Career: Moreno played 15 seasons in MLS between 1996 and 2010, for D.C. and MetroStars. He was an MLS Best XI selection in 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005 and 2006 and an MLS champion in 1996, 1997, 1999 and 2004 with D.C. He also was a U.S. Open Cup champion in 1996 and 2008 with D.C. and a CONCACAF Champions Cup champion in 1998 with D.C. Moreno played 340 MLS regular-season games and 32 MLS playoff games, scoring 145 goals, and he played 75 games for the Bolivian national team, including the 1994 World Cup.
KEVIN PAYNE, BUILDER Career: A first-division team official, Payne was president and general manager of D.C. United in Major League Soccer for 15 seasons, from 1996 through 2001 and 2004 through 2012. He was president of Toronto FC of MLS in the 2013 season, and from 2001 through 2004 was an executive of Anshutz Entertainment Group, which owned several MLS franchises. He won the USSF’s Werner Fricker Builder Award in 2011. Under his leadership, D.C. United won the MLS championship in 1996, 1997, 1999 and 2004; won the U.S. Open Cup in 1996 and 2008; hosted the MLS championship game in 1997, 2000 and 2007, and hosted the MLS all-star game in 2004.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL SOCCER HALL OF FAME The National Soccer Hall of Fame at Toyota Stadium opened to the public in Frisco, Texas, on Nov. 2, 2018, after calling Oneonta, N.Y., its home from 1983 through 2010. The Hall of Fame marries artifacts — including all four FIFA Women’s World Cup Trophies won by the U.S. National Team — with technology such as facial recognition powered by NEC and virtual reality to deliver the most personalized experience in sports.
Established in 1950, the NSHOF is dedicated to growing the sport of soccer in America by celebrating its history, preserving its legacy, inspiring its youth and honoring its heroes for generations to come. The National Soccer Hall of Fame is powered by NEC and additionally sponsored by Major League Soccer, Heineken, Pepsi, Gallagher and WinStar World Resort and Casino.
The 2021 National Soccer Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will feature a combined ceremony that enshrines the class of 2021 as well as the class of 2020. The 2020 ceremony was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.