When fans of the United States begin to debate who the best defender in USMNT history is, it’s never long before Steve Cherundolo enters the conversation. He was consistent, he was dominant, and he made sure the right side of the field was safe. And, fans felt a sense of relief when Cherundolo’s name was in the starting lineup.
On the club side, Cherundolo joined Hannover after a stellar freshman season for the University of Portland Pilots. He quickly established himself as the starting right back, and he would keep that spot for the better part of 15 seasons. He spent his entire club career with Hannover, and his play made him a fan favorite. He was so popular amongst the fans of the club that they nicknamed him “Mayor of Hannover,” and it was a nickname that stuck. He defined the club, and his play was what was viewed as the gold standard for the German club.
Based on his success with Hannover, Cherundolo quickly made it onto the USMNT, debuting in September 1999 against Jamaica. He had a total of 87 caps for his country, scoring 2 goals and adding 3 assists during his national team career. He was a member of the team that won the 2005 Gold Cup, and he was a featured defender on the 2006 and 2010 World Cup teams.
There were very few like Steve Cherundolo, and the USMNT has missed having a player of his quality on the back line since his retirement in 2014. Enjoy some highlights from his career, and then hit the comments to tell us where you think he rates among the greats in USMNT history.