- Position: Defender, Class of 2010
Columbus Crew (1997-1999)
Born in Germany to an American father and German mother, Thomas Dooley is one of just seven players that started every game in consecutive FIFA World Cups for the U.S. (1994, 1998) in the modern era. The 1993 U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year, he captained the U.S. team in France 1998 and closed his eight-year U.S. career with 81 caps and seven goals.
After a long professional career in Germany, Dooley joined the Columbus Crew in 1997 after winning the UEFA Cup that spring with Schalke 04. In MLS he was a two-time All-Star and a two-time Best XI selection in three years with the Crew before playing a final season with the MetroStars in 2000 at age 39.
Dooley started his professional career in Germany with FC Homburg in 1984, helping the small club rise up from the third division into the Bundesliga. After two seasons in the Bundesliga with FC Homburg, he moved to FC Kaiserslautern, where he was part of a Bundesliga-winning team in 1991 and the German Cup title in 1990.
It was with FC Kaiserslautern in December of In 1991 that U.S. Soccer found out about Dooley’s dual citizenship, and in 1992 he came to Chicago to secure the U.S. passport required for him to become eligible for the U.S. National Team. He had missed on chances with Germany’s national team due to age and injury and didn’t speak much English, but he had dreamed of coming to USA, exemplified in his favor of American music, blue jeans and the Corvette. He sacrificed his Bundesliga salary to join the U.S. team prior to the 1994 FIFA World Cup, although he returned to Germany to continue his career with Schalke 04 for three seasons from 1994-1997, with the UEFA Cup title coming in his final season in Europe.
Dooley’s first cap for the U.S. on came May 30, 1992, a 3-1 win against Ireland in Washington, D.C. He jumped into the starting lineup almost instantly, playing well enough to garner U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year honors in 1993 when he played 17 matches, starting all of them and scoring four goals with two assists. He scored three goals in the 1993 U.S. Cup, including a goal in the famous 2-0 win against England in Foxborough. His other two goals came in Chicago against his homeland in the only multi-goal game of his career just more than a year after his U.S. debut.
The strong defender started and played every minute of the U.S.’ four matches in the 1994 FIFA World Cup, where the United States advanced out of the group stage for the first time since 1930. His play in the ensuing years earned him the armband for the 1998 World Cup, where as the team’s senior member he started all three matches.
Some of his other goals also came in big matches for the U.S., including the second score for the U.S. in the 4-0 win against Mexico in 1995, a 90th minute game-tying goal against Mexico in the 1996 U.S. Cup, and the game-winner in a FIFA World Cup qualifier against Trinidad & Tobago in 1996.
Following his retirement, Dooley started a soccer school, the Dooley Soccer University, in California and was also the head coach of FC Saarbrücken in Germany in 2002-2003. Dooley currently runs the OC Kings Soccer Academy and in 2006 founded the American Soccer Tennis Organization.