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Anson Dorrance ’74 has been elected to the National Soccer Hall of Fame. Dorrance and U.S. National Team veteran player Hugo Perez were elected with unprecedented totals in their respective categories. Dorrance was named on 54 percent of the ballots, and Perez was named on 59 percent. Each year the top individual in the “Builder” and Veteran Player categories are elected to the Hall of Fame as long as the individual is named on a minimum of 50 percent of the ballots cast.
“Anson Dorrance has set an unbelievable standard for American soccer coaches,” Hall President Steve Baumann said. “His success at UNC is staggering, and his World Championship with the U.S. Women’s National Team has inspired coaches to higher levels of excellence. Induction into the National Soccer Hall of Fame is a natural outgrowth of his exemplary and continuing career.”
Dorrance began his coaching career at his alma mater in 1976 as head coach of the men’s team on which he played as an undergraduate. Beginning in 1979 he coached both the men’s and women’s teams, before becoming exclusively the women’s coach after the 1988 season. In his 12-year career as the UNC men’s coach, his record was 172-65-21, with an ACC championship and two NCAA Division I tournament selections.
As women’s coach through last season, his coaching record is an NCAA best in both wins (648-32-19) and winning percentage (.941). The women have won the national championship 19 times in 28 seasons, with a string of nine in a row between 1986 and 1994. During this period there were two record-setting streaks of 103 matches unbeaten and 92 matches won. Dorrance has been NSCAA National Coach of the Year seven times, and a UNC player has been recognized as national player of the year 15 times.
In 1986, Dorrance became head coach of the U.S. Women’s National Team, and over an eight-year career, he won 65 times, with 22 losses and five ties. The most significant of those victories was in the final of the first Women’s World Cup (then titled the World Championship for Women’s Football) in 1991.
Four players on teams coached by Dorrance – April Heinrichs ’86, Shannon Higgins ’90, Carla Overbeck ’90 and Mia Hamm ’94 – are in the hall of fame.
The Mission of the National Soccer Hall of Fame, in Oneonta, N.Y., is to celebrate the history, honor the heroes, inspire youth and preserve the legacy of soccer in the United States.