116street Soccer

Footballing from a lesser authority...

Location: New York, New York

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Know Your Yanks: Eddie Pope

Back to form after a bout with injuries, Eddie Pope looks ready to reclaim his place as the preeminent American defender. Does he have one last, good World Cup run in him?

Eddie Pope has been synonymous with U.S. Soccer for nearly ten years. An original member of Bruce Arena's D.C. United dynasty, Pope came into MLS in 1996 and made an immediate impact, scoring the golden goal to give D.C. United the first-ever MLS Cup championship. He also made his U.S. debut that same year. In 1997, he arrived on the scene fully, being named to the MLS Best XI, receiving the MLS Defender of the Year award, and winning a second straight MLS Cup title. 1998 brought a Champions Cup title for D.C., and a berth on the U.S.' disappointing World Cup team for Pope.
The following seasons would bring even more honors to Pope; four straight All-Star appearances (1996-2000), another MLS Cup (1999) and even an MLS Humanitarian of the Year award (2000). In 2002, he started every game for the U.S. in their run to the World Cup quarterfinals, but later that year he found himself traded to the MetroStars (now the New York Red Bulls), ending his illustrious D.C. United career.
From 2002 to 2004 Pope was a defensive anchor for the MetroStars, nailing down two more MLS Best XI selections, before being traded to Real Salt Lake for the 2005 season. In 2005, he was named to the MLS All Time Best XI.
Pope is a quick defender with decent size, and is a very strong tackler. He is also good in the air, and very rarely makes mental mistakes. His distinguished career has led many to believe him to be the greatest defender in U.S. history. A recent bout with injuries, as well as advancing age, led to a drop in form, and to many observers he appeared washed up; a return to health, however has led to a return to form, and Pope should be a starter when the U.S. takes the field on Monday.

Career Highlights:

1996: Makes pro debut with D.C. United (USA, Major League Soccer). Wins MLS Cup with D.C. Wins U.S. Open Cup with D.C. Makes U.S. Men's National Team debut.

1997: Wins MLS Cup with D.C. Named MLS Defender of the Year. Named to MLS Best XI.

1998: Wins Champions Cup with D.C. Wins Interamerican Cup with D.C. Named to MLS Best XI.

1999: Wins MLS Cup with D.C.

2000: Named MLS Humanitarian of the Year.

2002: Advances to World Cup quarterfinals with USA, before elimination against Germany. Joins MetroStars (USA, Major League Soccer) from D.C. via trade.

2003: Named to MLS Best XI.

2004: Named to MLS Best XI.

2005: Joins Real Salt Lake (USA, Major League Soccer) from MetroStars via trade. Named to MLS All Time Best XI.


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