Monday, June 9, 2008

100 Cap Club: Marcelo Balboa

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 band of brothers who have proudly worn the jersey at least 100 times for the United States.

Marcelo Balboa
Caps: 128
First Cap: Jan. 10, 1988
100th Cap: June 11, 1995 vs. Nigeria (U.S. Cup)
Era: 1988-2000

Marcelo Balboa became the first American player (male or female) to appear in his 100th international game—and he did it with style. On June 11, 1995, just two years after completely tearing his ACL, Balboa made history by hitting the century mark in the opening game of the U.S. Cup against Nigeria at Foxboro Stadium in Boston. Playing in your 100th international game is probably enough to steal the headlines in itself, but that didn’t satisfy the long-haired defender. Down 2-1 just seconds before the halftime whistle, Balboa scored a goal on a header from a Mike Burns free kick to send the teams into the locker rooms tied at two apiece. The 11th goal of his career helped lift the team to a 3-2 win over the Super Eagles, and eventually the the U.S. Cup title. Of one of the best games of his career, Balboa said, “To get the 100th cap and to top it off with a goal and a win, you can’t be much happier.”

He also captained the team in the 1995 Copa America tournament and played in the FIFA World All-Star game in the same year. Balboa would continue playing with the national team through 2000, earning 128 total caps, appearing in three World Cups, and scoring 13 career goals in 12 years with the red, white, and blue.

Balboa on being the first American to 100 caps:
“To be honest, I didn't think I would be the first to get it, especially when I tore my knee in 1993, so when the day came, it was very special. It was something that no other American player had done, man or woman. A lot of defenders don't get to do too many special things in soccer, so to be able to reach 100 caps and score that day was a highlight of my career.”

NEXT UP: Paul Caligiuri

1 comment:

AdamK said...

Big fan, thanks for all your work and I'm super excited for the Barbados game - we'll be there.

Maybe a dumb question, but why is it called a "Cap" does it mean "Country Appearance." I understand the meaning of the term, just not its origen.