KICK START; TEN YEARS LATER, ONE GOAL STILL MEANS A LOT.Byline: Fred J. Robledo Staff Writer
Galaxy defender Paul Caligiuri Paul David Caligiuri (born May 9, 1964 in Westminster, California) is a former American soccer player and current head coach of the Cal Poly Pomona men's college soccer team. had no idea that his ``shot-heard-around-the-world'' goal 10 years ago today would become the most significant moment in American soccer history.
But without Caligiuri's goal that beat Trinidad & Tobago 1-0 on Nov. 19, 1989 - qualify the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. for the 1990 World Cup - America probably would not have been allowed to host the 1994 World Cup, Major League Soccer probably would not exist and scores of Americans might never have had an opportunity to play professional soccer.
Caligiuri, preparing for Sunday's MLS Cup The MLS Cup is the final game of the Major League Soccer postseason, officially recognized as the championship of the league. The trophy is called the Alan I. Rothenberg Trophy, after the founding chairman of MLS. championship against D.C. United D.C. United is a professional soccer club located in Washington, D.C. that participates in Major League Soccer. The club's official nickname is the "Black-and-Red" and home uniforms are black and white with accents of red. The team's name refers to Washington, D.C. , still gets chills when he recalls his miraculous, 30-yard dipping left-footed volley that beat Trinidad & Tobago in front of more than 35,000 red-clad fans packed into Port of Spain's National Stadium.
``It was my first start in three qualifying matches and we had only scored one goal in three games prior,'' Caligiuri said. ``Trinidad was unbeaten at home and we knew scoring a goal was going to be a huge chore.
``When the goal came, Trinidad was getting the best of us at the time. It was instinctive. I received the ball about 40 yards out, pushed it forward, but a defender closed me down. I beat him to my left and just hit it. When I saw it dipping I knew it had a chance. When it went in, we were all just thrilled to death because a zero-zero tie meant Trinidad would have advanced instead of us.
``When the game was over, what I had done, or what we had done, started to settle in.''
That lone goal gave the Americans the victory, sending them to the World Cup in Italy. It was America's first Cup appearance in 40 years.
Because of that victory, the U.S. was able to host the 1994 World Cup, which paved the way for Major League Soccer's berth in 1996.
``We knew what the immediate impact of that goal meant,'' said Caligiuri, a product of Walnut High and UCLA UCLA University of California at Los Angeles
UCLA University Center for Learning Assistance (Illinois State University)
UCLA University of Carrollton, TX and Lower Addison, TX . ``We were aware of the fact that Brazil and Mexico were alternative sites for the 1994 World Cup if we didn't qualify in 1990.
``We realized a lot of sponsorships were pending on us qualifying for the World Cup. We also knew that our jobs were on the line and our salaries would be over in a week or so if we didn't advance.''
Signing a few trading cards and posters for fans following training Thursday in Boston, Caligiuri is still moved by the effects of that goal.
``It never changed me as a person,'' he said. ``I never thought the focus should have been on me. It should have been about what our team accomplished.
``But to look back and see the impact it's had on soccer here, it's amazing a·maze
v. a·mazed, a·maz·ing, a·maz·es
1. To affect with great wonder; astonish. See Synonyms at surprise.
2. Obsolete To bewilder; perplex.
v.intr. . To know that I played such a critical role in sports history . . . you can't explain that feeling. It gives you the chills.''
Others know what it meant for them. D.C. United defender Jeff Agoos Jeffrey ("Jeff") Alan Agoos (born May 2, 1968 in Geneva, Switzerland) is a former American soccer defender, and one of the all-time appearance leaders for the United States national team. , a three-time MLS See multilevel security. All-Star and U.S. national team regular, might have been working somewhere else had the U.S. tied or lost that day.
``That was probably the goal that set pro soccer in motion here,'' said Agoos. ``It had huge significance to soccer in the U.S., propelling us to being a bigger mainstream sport. The three World Cup appearances since are due to that moment. Cal's goal has been a catalyst for a lot of things that have happened here.''
The U.S. was beaten soundly in Italy the next summer, but qualifying opened doors for rising standouts such as Tab Ramos Tabare (Tab) Ramos (born September 21, 1966 in Montevideo, Uruguay) is a retired U.S. soccer midfielder, considered one of the most skillful players to ever wear the US jersey. and John Harkes John Harkes (born March 8, 1967 in Kearny, New Jersey) is a former American soccer player and currently an assistant coach with Red Bull New York of Major League Soccer. Harkes was the first American ever to play in the English Premier League, and is a member of the National to earn contracts overseas.
``At least half of the things that have happened in U.S. soccer since would never have occurred if Paul didn't score that goal,'' said Ramos. ``I signed in Spain because somebody saw me play in the World Cup. If we didn't go to Italy who knows how prepared our team would have been for the 1994 World Cup? And the impact that our team made in 1994 (reaching the second round) provided the push to get this league (MLS) started.
``That goal was probably the most important moment that we've had here, at least since I've been playing.''
Who: Galaxy vs. D.C. United
When: Sunday, 10:30 a.m.
Where: Foxboro Stadium Boston/New England Patriots
• • [
TV: Ch. 7
Photo: Paul Caligiuri, above, launched U.S. soccer into the present with his game-winning goal in 1989.
Kevork Djansezian/Associated Press
Box: MLS CUP (See text)