Carlos Bocanegra

June 23, 2010 - Tshwane/Pretoria, Guateng, South Africa - 23 JUN 2010: Carlos Bocanegra (USA). The United States National Team defeated the Algeria National Team 1-0 at Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Tshwane/Pretoria, South Africa in a 2010 FIFA World Cup Group C match.

Position: Center Back/Left Back

Club: Stade Rennais (France)

Club Career

Carlos Bocanegra began his career in 2000 with the Chicago Fire of MLS.  And he began in style – Carlos won Rookie of the Year and Chicago won the US Open Cup and finished runners-up in MLS.  After four years of steady play (including two Defender of the Year awards) Europe came a-callin’.  Bocanegra featured for London club Fulham from 2004-2008, playing both center back and left back.  In 2007-2008, he was one of five Americans to play for Fulham (keeper Kasey Keller, midfielder Clint Dempsey, and strikers Eddie Johnson and Briker McBride were the others).  This proved to be Bocanegra’s last year with the club.  A coaching change saw the club unwilling to sign him to a new contract.

Stades Rennais FC of France’s Ligue 1, however, saw fit to sign Bocanegra, who rewarded their faith with fine form and appearances in all league matches.  Carlos has played left back for much of his time in France.

National Team

Bocanegra first made waves for the US side by notching four goals in 2003.  In fact, Bocanegra has a phenomenal strike rate for a defender.  His 12 goals in 77 matches are just one shy of the most goals for a US defender.  And retired US standout Marcelo Balboa required 128 appearances to garner his 13!

Of course, Carlos’ goals are merely a bonus to his play as a defender.  For much of his early national team service he bounced between center back and left back, starting two of the three matches in the 2006 World Cup at left back (he did not feature in the other game).  Bocanegra made a more lasting move to center back in 2007 and did not play left back again until 2009.

Bocanegra’s steady performances were rewarded with the captaincy by manager Bob Bradley in 2007.  The US national team has seen some of its most positive results with Carlos as Captain America.  He captained the winning 2007 Gold Cup team and the runners-up of the 2009 Confederations Cup.  If El Capitan is able to put in another steady shift in the back (and perhaps add a goal or two), the US should produce a fine performance at the upcoming World Cup.

World Cup 2010

Deployed at both left back and center back, Bocanegra may have been USA’s steadiest defender throughout the tournament. Against England, he managed to contain speedster Aaron Lennon, and while the gringos gave up two goals to Slovenia, Bocanegra was not at fault on either. After the first two matches, manager Bob Bradley shifted Carlos to center back. His partnership with Jay DeMerit led to a shutout of Algeria, but both center backs failed to contain Ghanaian striker Asamoah Gyan on the play that knocked the US out of the tournament, though, as a whole, Bocanegra had an outstanding tournament in what might have been his last go round as Captain America.

Official US Soccer Bio

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