Landon Donovan, Jill Ellis, Eric Wahl, Kate Sobrero Markgraf (upper row, L to R), Lauren Cheney Holiday, DaMarcus Beasley, and Dr. Celine Gounder, wife of Colin Jose Media Award winner Grant Wahl (lower row, L to R). | Photo courtesy National Soccer Hall
FRISCO, Texas – Current Fort Wayne FC co-owner DaMarcus Beasley and San Diego Loyal SC Executive Vice President of Soccer Operations Landon Donovan were among seven inductees to the National Soccer Hall of Fame on Saturday, providing a final monument to their playing career alongside their legendary contemporaries enshrined in the hall.
Beasley and Donovan were joined by United States Women’s National Team legends Lauren Cheney Holiday and Kate Sobrero Markgraf, former U.S. Women’s National Team coach Jill Ellis and indoor soccer legend Slavisa “Steve” Zungul in entering the Hall of Fame from the 2023 class. U.S. National Team alum Hope Solo entered the Hall of Fame after deferring her induction last year.
U.S. Soccer President Cindy Parlow Cone welcomes DaMarcus Beasley to the National Soccer Hall of Fame on Saturday. | Photo courtesy National Soccer Hall of Fame
A defender and midfielder, Beasley made 126 appearances for the U.S. Men’s National Team between 2001 and 2017 and was the first American man to play in four World Cups. He played 11 seasons in Major League Soccer, with one Best XI selection and two Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup titles.
More recently, Beasley became part of the ownership group of USL League Two club Fort Wayne FC, bringing a club in the top pre-professional league in the United States to his hometown. Beasley was presented by his father, Henry Beasley, and paid tribute to the role his family had played in his life beyond his remarkable playing career.
“Without my family, I would not be here,” said Beasley. “I don’t mean here, on the stage. I mean as a person. My family stays with me. They’ve been to every World Cup, to all the countries I’ve played in. This is about family.”
U.S. Soccer President Cindy Parlow Cone welcomes Landon Donovan to the National Soccer Hall of Fame on Saturday. | Photo courtesy National Soccer Hall of Fame
A forward and midfielder, Donovan made 157 appearances for the U.S. Men’s National Team, including three World Cups and one Olympic Games. Donovan is second only to Cobi Jones on the list of all-time national team appearances, and his 57 goals with the USMNT tied him with Clint Dempsey as the all-time leader. Donovan played 15 seasons in MLS, with seven Best XI selections, and when he retired was the all-time MLS goal-scoring leader.
More recently, Donovan has been a key figure in the establishment and rise of San Diego Loyal SC in the USL Championship. The first Head Coach in the club’s history prior to stepping down to focus on his work as the club’s Executive Vice President of Soccer Operations, Donovan has built a successful culture that a season ago saw the side finish second in the USL Championship’s Western Conference in only its third season in the league.
“I’ve always tried to be mindful of those who came before and quite literally laid the foundation for us,” Donovan said. “Generations before us gave us the opportunity to be here, and I’m grateful. Part of our job has been to make it better for the next generation. When you stand in a building like the Hall of Fame, it makes you realize we did a lot of work to get to this point.”