ONEONTA, NY - Former Rutgers University soccer standout and U.S. National Team pioneer Alexi Lalas was elected into the National Soccer Hall of Fame, the organization announced Saturday evening to a national television audience on ESPN2.
He joined Carla Werden Overbeck as the latest individuals to receive the game’s highest honor. The two players will be inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame at the Induction 2006 ceremonies on Monday, August 28 in Oneonta, NY.
Hall of Fame President Will Lunn emphasized, “Alexi and Carla were tremendous players and both played important roles in the sport’s history as key members of U.S. teams that made an impact on the world stage. In addition to outstanding play in MLS, Alexi was one of a small group of elite players who raised the bar for the MNT in international competition. His header to help beat England in 1993 sent notice to the world that ‘the Americans were coming.’ I very much look forward to welcoming them both to Oneonta and the Hall of Fame this August.”
Lalas received 95 votes of the 113 ballots cast by members of the soccer media, Hall of Famers, National Team and MLS coaches, and soccer administrators from across the country. He was named on 84.07% of the ballots.
A four-year starter for the Scarlet Knights from 1988-1991, Lalas is regarded as one of the most prolific players in Rutgers soccer history. He is the only player in the history of the soccer program to earn three All-America honors, and he was the 1991 Consensus National Player of the Year as winner of the Hermann Award and the Missouri Athletic Club Trophy. A three-time captain, he led Rutgers to three NCAA Tournaments and two final four appearances (1989, 1990). After missing 10 games due to a ruptured appendix in 1990, he recovered to lead the Scarlet Knights all the way to the 1990 National Championship game. In his senior year, he was the guiding force to a 15-match winning streak and Rutgers first No. 1 ranking in the history of the program. In his four year career, Rutgers was a combined 71-15-8 and Atlantic 10 Champions in 1990 and 1991. He was named to Atlantic 10 All-Conference teams three times (1989-91). Lalas was inducted into the Rutgers Olympic Sports Hall of Fame in 1998. He won the U. S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year Award in 1995.
After completing his Rutgers career, Lalas, currently President and General Manager of the Los Angeles Galaxy, played in the 1994 World Cup in the central defense, paired with 2005 Hall of Fame inductee Marcelo Balboa. 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 Balboa and 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, enjoying his greatest success there. 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 Anschutz Entertainment Group, first as President and General Manager of the San Jose Earthquakes before moving to the then MetroStars, now the New York Red Bulls, in the summer of 2005. He assumed the leadership role at the Galaxy in April, 2006.