Thomas Dooley

Possibly the best of the several U.S. national team players in the 1990s who had been raised in Europe but were dual citizens, and eligible to play for the United States, because one of their parents was American.

Dooley, who had lived his entire life in Germany, was a veteran of the West German first division at the time that he played his first game for the United States in 1992. At that point, he had played three seasons for Homburg and four for Kaiserslautern, and was a key member of Kaiserlautern’s champion team in the 1990-91 Bundesliga season.

Because of the factors that made them eligible to play for the United States, and the fact that they obtained U.S. passports before doing so, Dooley and several others in the same situtation were sometimes referred to as “Passport Americans.” This misnomer igonored the fact that Dooley, whose father was a U.S. serviceman stationed in Germany in the early 1960s, had been a dual American and German citizen since birth.

Dooley made an important contribution in his first game for the United States, against Ireland in May 1992, threading a pass between defenders that John Harkes converted into a goal. That was the opening game of the 1992 U.S. Cup, and Dooley’s most famous exploits may have come in the following year’s U.S. Cup, in which he scored a goal in the upset over England and two goals against his native Germany.

Dooley went on to play for the United States in the 1994 and 1998 World Cups, and the 1995 Copa America, and had accumulated 81 full international caps by the time he retired from the national team in 1999. At the 1998 World Cup, he captained the United States in all three of its games.

Dooley was nominally a defensive player, sometimes a sweeper and sometimes a deep-lying midfielder, but was a very mobile player who came frequently up into attack and became involved in scoring plays.

Dooley played three more seasons in Germany after the 1994 World Cup, one for Bayer Leverkusen and two for Schalke, and then moved his career fully to the United States, signing with MLS and playing in the 1997, 1998 and 1999 seasons for the Columbus Crew, and 2000 for the MetroStars.

Inducted in 2010.