Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Eddie Pope (born December 24, 1973, in Greensboro, North Carolina) is a soccer defender, who currently plays for the Real Salt Lake of Major League Soccer and is an important part of the United States national team.
Pope had a very successful career playing for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In 1994, he was a first team All-American, and also earned All-ACC and All-South Region honors. He came to MLS in 1996, as the second pick in the MLS College Draft, having been selected by D.C. United.
His first season in Washington, DC was split between the United and the men's Olympic team, which was preparing for the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia. However, he still played 18 games for the United and won a league title with the team, scoring a golden goal in the MLS Cup against the Los Angeles Galaxy. He also played his first game with the national team, helping the team beat Trinidad and Tobago 2-0 on November 10th. In 1997, Pope made quite a splash on the MLS scene. He was named MLS Defender of the Year and earned a place in the MLS Best XI, as well as winning a second MLS title. In 1998, Pope helped the United win both the CONCACAF Champions Cup and the CONCACAF Interamerican Cup , the first continental honors earned by an MLS team. He scored the winning goal in the United's victory in the Interamerican Cup. He was also a fixture for the national team, which surprised the world when it defeated Brazil 1-0 and made its way to the finals of the CONCACAF Gold Cup. Pope also played in two games for the US's disappointing campaign at the 1998 World Cup.
Pope's 1999 season was beset by injuries, and his playing time was limited, which continued to pester him into 2000, although he would play 19 and 21 games, respectively, in those seasons, and he earned his third and fourth consecutive trips to the MLS All-Star Game. Pope was named the MLS Humanitarian of the Year in 2000. Injuries continued to dog Pope in 2001, but he again played in the All-Star Game and also played an important role in the national team's World Cup qualification. In 2002, he started all five of the US's matches in the World Cup, and played a big part in the suprising success of the United States in that tournament. His MLS season was again troubled with injuries, and he only appeared in 17 matches.
On December 23, 2002, Pope was traded to the MetroStars, along with Jaime Moreno and Richie Williams, in return for Mike Petke, a first-round draft pick, and an allocation. Pope continued his quality play with the MetroStars, captaining the team to an excellent defensive record. He was named to the MLS Best XI for the third time for his efforts. Pope continues to play the role of defensive stalwart for both the MetroStars and the national team. In 2004, he had a down year with the Metros, but was still voted to the MLS Best XI for a second consecutive season. After the year, Pope was traded to expansion Salt Lake for an allocation. In nine years in MLS, he scored eight goals and ten assists, plus added that MLS Cup goal and an assist in the playoffs.
Pope has earned 65 caps and scored six international goals. He has won many honors and been an important part of some of the most successful teams in the MLS. Even though injuries have set him back, he has become one of the best defenders the US has ever produced.
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