Former U.S. MNT Defender Jeff Agoos Elected Into National Soccer Hall of Fame
When Jeff Agoos called time on his international career in 2003, he did so having finally achieved the last remaining goal left during a memorable 15 year period with the U.S. Men’s National Team.
“Every player who starts playing soccer dreams to play in a World Cup,” said Agoos, who played in all three group games during the USA's run to the quarterfinals in the 2002 tournament. “That's the biggest pinnacle of any player's career.”
For a player who made 134 appearances for the national team, the exact pinnacle of such a successful career may be hard to pinpoint. Now the former left-back has another accomplishment to add to his list: On Thursday, Agoos was elected into the National Soccer Hall of Fame.
Agoos was born in Switzerland and grew up in the U.S. before heading to the University of Virginia to play under head coach Bruce Arena. While in college, Agoos debuted for the national team in 1988, playing two games against Guatemala in Guatemala City. In the second game, on Jan. 13, he earned his first start and scored the first goal of his national team career.
After winning the NCAA title in 1989 at Virginia, Agoos made a brief appearance in the A-League before being drafted by the Dallas Sidekicks of the MISL in 1991. After a successful year in the indoor game, in which he also featured for the U.S. Futsal National Team, Agoos left in 1992 to focus on his outdoor career with the national team.
Though he missed the FIFA World Cup squad in 1994, Agoos returned to prominence during the inaugural MLS season as part of the championship winning D.C. United. Agoos was a vital part of United's defense, again under Arena, and the MLS Cup title in 1996 proved to be the first of many. Two more titles with D.C. United would follow, in 1997 and 1999, before a move to San Jose Earthquakes brought MLS Cups in 2001 in 2003.
An on-field leader, Agoos was long-known for his perseverance and 130 appearances later, he finally made his appearance in the 2002 FIFA World Cup. A member of the 1998 World Cup team, Agoos did not feature in France, but in Korea/Japan he played in all three group games to help the U.S. move on to the next round.
He ended his international career in 2003, having appeared in 134 games for the U.S., second only to teammate Cobi Jones with 154 caps.
Agoos earned his fifth and final MLS Cup title with the Earthquakes in 2003, before calling time on his career in 2005 after a brief stint with the MetroStars. He was voted to the MLS All-Time Best XI in 2005 and continued his soccer career following his retirement as a player by transitioning to the front office staff of the New York Red Bulls as the team’s technical director.
With his sweet left foot, Agoos was a threat from set pieces, and he was always a familiar figure standing over the ball during a dangerous free kick situation. However, he'll best be remembered for his remarkable determination, which he displayed throughout his trophy-winning career at the highest level of soccer in the United States.
Agoos was named on 108 Hall of Fame ballots, 67.9 percent of the total ballots cast. A player must be selected on 66.7 percent of the ballots to be elected to the Hall of Fame.
Agoos By the Numbers:
134 Career MNT career
124 Career MNT starts
1988 The year of Agoos' first cap for the U.S., which came against Guatemala in Guatemala City
2002 The year of Agoos' debut in the World Cup, 14 years after his first appearance for the U.S.
2003 The year Agoos started and played 90 minutes during a FIFA World All-Star game in South Africa
26 World Cup qualifying appearances for Agoos, tied for sixth all-time
2nd Agoos' place on the all-time MNT appearances list (134)
5 MLS Cup titles Agoos won: three with D.C. United and two with the San Jose Earthquakes
10 Career U.S. Futsal National Team caps
3 Times Agoos appeared in the MLS Best XI (1997, 1999, 2001)
6 MNT head-coaches during Agoos' 15-year national team career
8 Career MNT assists