Friday, June 13, 2008

100 Cap Club: Earnie Stewart

When Landon Donovan earned his membership into the ‘100 Cap Club’ in the 0-0 draw against No. 1-ranked Argentina – becoming the fourth youngest player in soccer history to achieve that mark! - he joined 10 American men in this highly exclusive fraternity. Each U.S. player before him reached the century mark in a unique and, in some cases, historic way. With Donovan’s story now told, has set out to provide a chronicle of the memorable ways in which the previous 10 players joined the elite group who have proudly worn the jersey at least 100 times for the United States.

Earnie Stewart
Caps: 101
First Cap: Dec. 19, 1990
100th Cap: June 20, 2004 vs. Grenada (World Cup Qualifier)
Era: 1990-2005

Holland native Earnie Stewart earned his 100th cap just two games after teammate Claudio Reyna, pitching in to USA’s 3-2 rain-soaked victory against Grenada in the second match of qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup. The match, held at Grenada’s National Cricket Stadium, was the U.S. team’s first visit to the island. Stewart entered the game in the 63rd minute to assist DaMarcus Beasley’s game-winning goal in the 77th minute.
Listen to a podcast with Earnie Stewart here.

The three-time World Cup veteran’s 102 international appearances for the U.S. are especially impressive since he spent nearly his entire professional career in the Netherlands, and only earned double-digit caps in two of his 14 years at the international level. The 2001 U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year finished his tenure with the national team with a career 17 goals and 10 assists.

He is most remembered for his game-winning goal in the USA’s 2-1 victory against Colombia in the 1994 World Cup, a game that pushed his team through to the Round of 16 where they lost a memorable 1-0 match to eventual champions Brazil. The win was the first for the U.S. in a World Cup since 1950.

Stewart’s perspective on his 100th cap:
"It's pretty much after the game when you're handed the ball with everyone's signature and congratulated that everything sinks in. You think about all the great games in the past. It meant a little bit more a month or two later when I saw that Grenada had been devastated by a storm. I saw pictures of the stadium where we played, and there wasn't much left of it. All of as sudden, soccer is a little bit less than life."

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