Athletics

Cindy Parlow chosen for National Soccer Hall of Fame

Parlow was a three-time National Player of the Year selection, two-time NCAA champion and two-time College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-America during her career at Carolina.

Cindy Parlow
Graphic by GoHeels.com

The U.S. National Soccer Hall of Fame announced Thursday that Cindy Parlow, UNC Class of 1999, has been selected for induction in the Hall’s 2018 class.

Parlow played at Carolina from 1995-98. She was a three-time National Player of the Year selection, two-time NCAA champion and two-time College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-America during her career. She played on the U.S. National Team for nine years, retiring in 2004 after winning the 1999 World Cup championship and 1996 and 2004 Olympic gold medals.  Since 2005 she has been a successful coach on the collegiate, professional and club level with stops all across the United States.

After starting for four years at forward for the Tar Heels from 1995-98, the midfielder was a key player on the U.S. Women’s National Team during a remarkable stretch of years in which the program was establishing itself as a one of the best in the world. She was the youngest member of the Olympic gold medal-winning team in 1996 and also played at the 2000 Summer Games. Most notably though, she was a part of the team that would win the 1999 FIFA World Cup and scored two goals in that historic tournament, including the first in a 2-0 semifinal victory against Brazil in front of 73,123 fans at the old Stanford Stadium.

“She was part of a special group of players for the U.S. Women’s National Team that endeared women’s soccer to sports fans in the United States and helped catapult the U.S. Women into one of the best teams in the world,” said Gavin Wilkinson, who hired Parlow Cone as the head coach of the Portland Thorns back in 2013. She led the Thorns to the inaugural NWSL title that year after serving as an assistant coach at Carolina from 2006-12.

When she wrapped up her international career back in 2004, Parlow had played for the USA 158 times. Prior to that, she scored 68 goals for the University of North Carolina which she led to back-to-back national championships in 1996 and 1997 and won the Herrmann Trophy as the nation’s top player in 1997 and 1998. She was also named the 1998 U.S. Soccer Young Female of the Year.

University of North Carolina head coach Anson Dorrance, one of the most accomplished coaches in all of sports and a member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame Class of 2008, broke the news Thursday to his former player that she, too, would be inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame. In Dorrance’s 39 years as head coach of the North Carolina Women’s Soccer Team, he has coached many legendary players, including several Hall of Famers, and now Parlow will join that elite group to be enshrined forever among the greats.

Parlow had a decorated history with the U.S. Women’s National Team. She retired as the squad’s fifth all-time leading scorer during an era in which she helped the U.S. women win the World Cup in 1999 and claim third place in 2003. Her 158 caps and 75 goals also earned her two Olympic gold medals and a silver medal and, to this day, she remains the youngest soccer player (male or female) to win an Olympic gold medal and a World Cup.

Prior to her international career, Parlow was a three-time NCAA Player of the Year and two-time NCAA national champion at the University of North Carolina. A native of Memphis, Tenn., Parlow continued her Tar Heel career as an assistant coach where she helped guide the team to four NCAA championships. She then went on to win the inaugural NWSL Championship (2013) as the head coach of the Portland Thorns. She also served on the coaching staff for the U.S. U-14 & U-15 Girls’ National Teams (2010-2013).