CARSON, Calif. – The five-time MLS Cup champion LA Galaxy honored three of their own Sunday night at StubHub Center with the induction of Cobi Jones, Mauricio Cienfuegos and Doug Hamilton into the team’s new Ring of Honor.
A pregame tribute featured video plaudits from various coaches and former teammates, including Landon Donovan and Alexi Lalas, who praised the trio that became initial members of the Ring, which will recognize Galaxy legends for their contributions to the club through dedicated signage inside StubHub Center.
But Sunday was a night to remember for the popular threesome. The 45-year-old Jones played for the Galaxy from 1996-2007 and is the club’s all-time leader in games played (306), games started (281) and career minutes (25,157). He also scored 70 goals, second all-time in franchise history behind Landon Donovan’s 112.
Cienfuegos, 47, played for the Galaxy from 1996-2003, made 206 appearances and had 80 assists and 35 goals. The Salvadoran also was a member of the 2002 MLS Cup winners.
Hamilton, who would have been 53 on Sunday, was president and general manager for two MLS Cup championships (2002 and 2005) and was named MLS Executive of the Year from 2003-2005 before his untimely death in March of 2006. The league renamed its executive award in his honor that year.
Jones said he had mixed emotions about the ceremony, considering Hamilton’s family – including his widow Paige and son Aedan – were there Sunday in his place. But it was a special occasion nonetheless.
“It’s a great night,” Jones said. “It’s something where you find there’s a recognition for the history and the past of the club, and that’s very important for any organization that wants to be considered historic or a dynasty.
“To have myself and Doug and Mauricio honored feels great.”
Cienfuegos said he arrived at StubHub Center prior to Sunday’s MLS regular-season opener between the Galaxy and D.C. United with no idea about what was taking place. When he found out and then saw his name and that of Jones and Hamilton unveiled, he almost was at a loss for words.
“I can’t believe it,” he said. “You see that in baseball and American football and the NBA but not in soccer.
“I was so excited about it.”
Jones said he hadn’t heard much about the ceremony, either.
“I got an email about it, and when I read it I thought, ‘Wow, this is great,’” he said. “This is something you see with some of the biggest teams in sports. You talk about the Yankees, the Dodgers, the Packers and all that. To get the recognition for the players who helped the club get where it is feels special.
“I feel extremely privileged.”
Cienfuegos said the festivities will feel even more meaningful now that his family, especially his 18-year-old daughter Shantal, can appreciate what he accomplished.
“She was only five when I retired 13 years ago,” Cienfuegos said. “She didn’t really enjoy it or really understand it. For me, it’s something that’s very special in my life.”