A defender who starred for the United States in three World Cups, won three MLS titles and scored one of the most dramatic goals in American soccer history.
Pope broke into the national team during World Cup qualifying in the fall of 1996, after having starred in the U.S. Olympic team that summer. A few weeks before his national-team debut, he scored the winning goal in overtime, coming forward to head home a corner kick, as D.C. United won the inaugural MLS championship amidst a game-long driving rain.
He became a regular in the national team almost immediately after his debut, initially at left back and later in central defense, and won the Honda Trophy as the U.S. men’s national team’s outstanding player in 1997. He went on to play 82 full internationals for the United States between 1996 and 2006, including nine of the United States’ 11 games at the 1998, 2002 and 2006 World Cups, and 31 World Cup qualifiers. He started all five of the United States’ games in its run to the quarterfinals of the 2002 World Cup, where he played in central defense and was a mainstay of the United States’ backline.
Pope continued after the 1996 MLS season to be a leader of D.C. United’s powerful team, winning MLS championships again in 1997 and 1999, and scoring the winning goals in both the 1998 CONCACAF Champions Cup final and the 1998 Interamerican Cup final. He played 12 years in MLS, appearing in 281 MLS games, and was named to the MLS Best XI in 1997, 1998, 2003 and 2004.
Inducted in 2011.