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2012 National Soccer Hall of Fame

Quote Sheet: National Soccer Hall of Fame 2012 Induction


Hall of Fame Builder Inductee TONY DICICCO
On what it means to be inducted into the Hall of Fame:
“It’s a great honor. I’m humbled by the other inductees and what they’ve accomplished and this isn’t a solitary achievement. Obviously this is a team sport. I’ve had a lot of great coaches that I’ve learned from and a lot of players that have done a lot of special things to help me reach this pinnacle. I’m very honored, very humbled and excited about today.”

On being inducted as a builder and what it means to build the sport in the United States:
“That’s one reason why this is so exciting. I think I probably would have had more opportunity in the coach category, but there isn’t a coach category. So as a builder, I look at many of the people who have built our sport in America and I’m just fortunate to be considered in that category. Not only the Women’s Team and what we accomplished but the professional leagues, getting them started – even though we haven’t really gotten one to stick yet. I was part of many men’s professional leagues before MLS, so it’s the kind of natural evolution until we get to that point where the economics are right, the fan support is right, the stadiums are right, everything. That’s important to me and I want to still continue to help build that part of our soccer society, and that’s women’s professional soccer. But certainly my years with our Under-20 Team and the U.S. Women’s National Team, winning the Olympics and two World Championships, is something that I’m very, very proud of. It took a lot of talented people to do some special things for me to get here.”

Hall of Fame Veteran Inductee DESMOND ARMSTRONG
On being inducted into the Hall of Fame:
“I’m just truly honored just to be included. A lot of the pioneers of the game that preceded me – not just in my generation – and to be included in that list of individuals, to say that we were hallmarks for the growth of the game, the future of the game and just part of that legacy. I think it’s going to be great for me to have my kids here and to see that they can look toward something with pride, that their father has done something that they’re a part of. And also a lot of young players that are coming in behind us are in the National Team right now, and other players that are coming in behind that, to say that, ‘Hey, maybe if these guys were able to forge this way, then maybe we can extend it and grow it and solidify it on the world stage.’ It’s a great honor.”

On what it means to be inducted as a Veteran:
“It’s great because the Veteran category really signifies the players who have come before us, who really know good players. You have your peers actually voting for you to get into the Hall of Fame in that category. So for me, I’m humbled by it, that they thought I was good enough to get into the Hall, to be a part of their group. I’m just delighted.”

On the significance of having the induction ceremony ahead of the USA game against Brazil:
“For me, personally, it’s huge because I was the first American ever to play in Brazil professionally. I’m from Washington, D.C., and so we’re playing on my home turf, so to speak. Those two factors, and then USA versus Brazil, of course – young stars of Brazil and the next World Cup coming up in the next two years, we’re in a fantastic stadium – it’s just icing on the cake for me.”

Hall of Fame Player Inductee TONY MEOLA
On what it means to be inducted into the Hall of Fame:
“It’s a huge honor. I don’t know if this has all sank in yet. I want to get past this speech today, to be completely honest with you. But I’m thrilled and I’m honored. For our sport and for any sport, this is the pinnacle. I can’t say that this is what I played for. This is just the product, I guess, of a lot of years of hard work and dedication.”

On his favorite moment of his career:
“I think qualifying for the 1990 World Cup against Trinidad just because of what that game meant to the history of U.S. Soccer, what it meant to be part of that, how people look at it today. We were the first team in 40 years to qualify and that’s always going to be special. If I had to pick one game, that would be it.”

On being one of the most recognizable players of his generation:
“Everyone asks me why I didn’t go to Europe. I took pride in promoting the game in the United States. I always looked at it as we had two jobs: one was to play, the other was to promote. I enjoyed it. I took it seriously that we needed to help grow the game here. I’m all for guys going overseas and doing what they have to do. That was just the path I wanted to take. I came at a period of time when there weren’t a lot of soccer players that were recognizable and we did some good things on the field that helped for sure. I just feel blessed by the whole thing. It’s hard to explain. I never thought I’d be here.”

On having the ceremony before USA vs. Brazil:
“I guess you couldn’t pick a better game, right? We’ve got to play a team that’s as storied as Brazil and now to see the progression of the National Team, the system, the players they have, it’s going to be exciting. This is a test right now and to be sort of an alumnus of the National Team program, I can tell you I’m proud of what the National Team stands for today.”

On being inducted with this group:
“It’s an honor to go with teammates that you played with. Desmond Armstrong, I played in the early days with and was the epitome of a professional. Then of course Claudio Reyna, who I had the pleasure of being the captain for in 1994 and then Claudio was my captain in 2002. I watched him grow up in New Jersey as a kid and come through the ranks. I don’t want to give away my whole speech, but I’m proud to be in that class. And then Tony DiCicco, who did so many great things as a coach, but I don’t think a lot of people realize that he was a goalkeeper and still trains goalkeepers, so we have that connection. For me, it’s an honor.”

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