DETROIT, Mich. (November 25, 2013) – Former Scarlet Knight soccer great, Alexi Lalas, has been selected for induction into his home state of Michigan’s Sports Hall of Fame it was announced Monday.
An all-state soccer player at Cranbrook Kingwood School in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, Lalas went on to not only to become a three-time All-American and 1991 consensus National Player of the Year at Rutgers, but one of the most recognizable American Athletes in the world.
“Alexi has left huge marks not only with our program at his alma mater here at Rutgers, but his home state of Michigan, as well as with US Soccer, that will forever be remembered,” said Rutgers men’s soccer head coach Dan Donigan. “All of us here at Rutgers are very happy and proud of all of all that Alexi has accomplished not only while a Scarlet Knight, but in his career after Rutgers. It’s a well deserved honor for a tremendously talented athlete.”
In his four years as a Scarlet Knight, he led RU to three NCAA tournaments, including a National Semifinal in 1989 and National Championship game in 1990. In 1989 and 1990, he was named a Third-Team All-American and in 1991, he was recognized as the nation’s finest college soccer player winning the Hermann Award and the Missouri Athletic Club Trophy. That year, he was also named First-Team All-American.
A three-time captain and the only Rutgers soccer player to receive three All-America honors, Lalas was the guiding force to a 15-match unbeaten streak and Rutgers’ first No. 1 ranking in the history of the program during his senior year. Rutgers was a combined 71-15-8 and with Atlantic 10 Champions in 1990 and 1991 during his time “on the banks”. He was also named to Atlantic 10 All-Conference teams three times (1989-91) and a four-time Mid-Atlantic Region choice
After completing his Rutgers career, Lalas, played in the 1994 World Cup in the central defense. The 1994 team tied Switzerland in their opening game, defeated Columbia and confounded the experts by advancing to the round of 16 where the team met eventual champion Brazil, losing 1 – 0 in a match where Lalas were heroic in the central defense. Lalas was also a member of the 1992 U. S. Olympic Team and the 1998 World Cup squad.
He was one of the first signings for Major League Soccer in preparation for their inaugural season in 1996, beginning his MLS career with the New England Revolution. He went on to play for the MetroStars, Kansas City Wizards, and the Los Angeles Galaxy. After retiring for a season in 2000, he returned to the Galaxy and won the Lamar Hunt U. S. Open Cup championship in 2001 and the MLS Cup Championship in 2002.
Following retirement, he went into management with the San Jose Earthquakes, New York Red Bulls and Los Angeles Galaxy. He is currently an analyst with ESPN and ABC Sports.
In addition to being honored by his home states’ hall of fame, Lalas was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in August of 2006. Lalas is also a member of the Rutgers Sports Hall of Fame (1998), a member of Rutgers Soccer’s 75th All-Anniversary Team and won the U. S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year Award in 1995.
Lalas is part of the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame’s 58th class that also includes: NFL record holder Jason Hanson and two-time NFL champion Dorne Dibble of the Detroit Lions, Michigan State Football All-American Percy Snow, 12-time NHL All-Star Nicklas Lidstrom of the Detroit Red Wings, 17-time league championship Detroit Catholic head football coach Tom Mach, Cy Young Award winner John Smoltz of the Atlanta Braves and Jim Brandstatter, former Michigan offensive lineman and long-time color commentator for the Wolverines and Lions.
The Michigan Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2014 will be formally enshrined in February.
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