The National Soccer Hall of Fame inducted five new members in a ceremony that took place Saturday afternoon before the U.S. Men’s National Team’s match against Spain at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. The 2011 Induction Class includes Galaxy and U.S. soccer legend Cobi Jones, as well as Eddie Pope and Earnie Stewart in the Player category, Bruce Murray as a Veteran and Bob Gansler as a Builder.
Cobi Jones played for the Galaxy from 1996-2007 before becoming an assistant coach with the club in November 2007, a position that he held for three years. With Jones on the coaching staff, the Galaxy reached the postseason twice and finished in first place in the Western Conference each of the last two seasons, winning the Supporters’ Shield last season.
“I am both honored and blessed to have had such a wonderful career with the LA Galaxy and I am thankful for everything the club, the fans and the community has done for me and my family,” Jones said following his departure from the Galaxy at the end of the 2010 season.
WATCH: Cobi's Hall of Fame acceptance speech
Originally allocated to LA on March 6, 1996, Jones scored the first goal in club history and is the only player in MLS history to have played each of the first 12 seasons of the league’s history with the same team. The club’s all-time leader in a number of statistical categories, Jones scored 70 goals and added 91 assists in 306 career regular season games. He is one of just five players in league history to record 70 goals and 90 assists during his MLS career and still ranks 10th in league history in games played.
His best season in MLS came in 1998 when he set career highs for goals (19) and assists (13), despite missing nearly two months of play while with the U.S. National Team in France at the World Cup. Jones tallied either a goal or an assist in 18 of the 24 games that he played that season and was named the Galaxy’s MVP and a finalist for MLS MVP as the Galaxy set a league record for goals scored that still stands today.
Jones won his first league championship when he captained the Galaxy to the club’s first-ever MLS Cup title in 2002. Jones also captained the Galaxy to their first Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup championship in 2001 and the 2000 CONCACAF Champions Cup. In 2005 he was part of the Galaxy’s “double” winning team that won both the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and MLS Cup, giving him five championships during his time with the club.
In addition to his distinguished career in MLS, Jones was also a permanent fixture on the U.S. National Team from 1992-2004, playing in three World Cups (1994, 1998, 2002). Jones amassed a record 164 caps for the Red, White and Blue in his international career, scoring 15 goals and adding 22 assists, which are the second most in U.S. history. In 2000, Jones had six goals and nine assists for 21 points in 16 matches with the National Team, setting a record that stood until 2007 for the most points in a year by a U.S. player.
A native of Westlake Village, Calif., Jones is synonymous with soccer in Southern California. He played college soccer as a walk-on at UCLA, eventually leading the Bruins to the 1990 NCAA Championship. Enshrined into the UCLA Hall of Fame in 2002, Jones finished his college career with 23 goals and 37 assists in 90 games.
“Cobi has been the heart and soul of the LA Galaxy and the one constant of our team since the day we acquired the franchise,” said Tim Leiweke, President and CEO, AEG, owner/operators of the MLS franchise. “His contributions to Major League Soccer, the United States National Team and soccer in America are immeasurable and unparalleled as is the amount of class he has always exhibited on and off the pitch.”
Established in 1950, the National Soccer Hall of Fame is dedicated to the sport of soccer in America by celebrating its history, preserving its legacy, inspiring its youth and honoring its heroes for generations to come.