As revealed on Wednesday, former Chicago Fire defender Carlos Bocanegra was named to Major League Soccer's The 25 Greatest, a platform announced in late October to determine and honor the 25 brightest stars in the league's history.
Bocanegra, who was additionally named to the National Soccer Hall of Fame in September, made 122 appearances for the Fire across all competitions from 2000-2003. He was named MLS Rookie of the Year in 2000, MLS Defender of the Year in 2002 and 2003, was a two-time MLS All-Star, and helped the Fire lift the U.S. Open Cup in 2000 and 2003.
His inclusion on the 25-man list was voted on by a special panel of more than 200 MLS experts from across North America. The panel was comprised of four groups: MLS greats & emeritus (former players, coaches, staff), current MLS club staff, media members and broadcast partners (local and national). MLS invited panelists based on years of experience within MLS, geographic balance, and game expertise.
Also included on the list was current Fire broadcaster and goalkeeping legend Tony Meola. In his illustrious 11 years in MLS, Meola won an MLS Cup, an MVP trophy, and currently ranks fifth all-time in saves.
Wednesday's announcement comes after an initial group of 134 of the most decorated and impactful players in league history were nominated for inclusion among The 25 Greatest, based on accomplishments like:
- Received multiple League-wide individual honor such as: Best XI, MVP, Golden Boot, Defender/GK of the Year, All-Star Selections
- Won major team trophies such as: MLS Cup, Supporters Shield, U.S. Open Cup, international club competitions
- Made extraordinary off-field contributions or impact
- Rank among the all-time leaders in key statistical areas.
17 former Chicago Fire players featured among the 134 nominees, including:
- Goalkeepers Jon Busch, Jorge Campos, and Zach Thornton
- Defenders DaMarcus Beasley, Carlos Bocanegra, Jonathan Bornstein, and Lubos Kubik
- Midfielders Chris Armas, Juninho, Jeff Larentowicz, Dax McCarty, and Piotr Nowak
- Forwards Cuauhtemoc Blanco, Mike Magee, Brian McBride, Ante Razov, and Josh Wolff
For more on The 25 Greatest, visit MLSsoccer.com.