Marcelo Balboa

Marcelo Balboa (born August 8, 1967) is an American retired soccer defender who played in the 1990s for the U.S. national team, becoming its captain. He is a member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame.

Marcelo Balboa
Balboa in 2006
Personal information
Date of birth (1967-08-08) August 8, 1967
Place of birth Chicago, Illinois, United States
Height 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Playing position Defender
College career
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1986–1987 Cerritos College
1988–1989 San Diego State Aztecs
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1987–1989 San Diego Nomads ? (8)
1990–1991 San Francisco Bay 15 (7)
1992 Colorado Foxes 15 (4)
1994–1995 León 53 (3)
1996–2001 Colorado Rapids 151 (24)
2002 MetroStars 1 (0)
Total 235 (46)
National team
1988–2000 United States 127 (13)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

After retiring from playing, he has worked as a commentator for ESPN and ABC and MLS games on HDNet and Altitude, as well as FIFA World Cup games on Univision. He is currently the head boys' soccer coach for Monarch High School in Louisville, Colorado[1]

Playing career


Balboa, who is of Argentine descent, was born in Chicago, Illinois, and grew up in Cerritos, California. Balboa played youth soccer for Fram-Culver, which won the 1986 McGuire Cup (U-19 National Championship).[2] Balboa's father, Luis Balboa who played professionally in Argentina and with the Chicago Mustangs of the North American Soccer League, coached him. In 1985, Balboa graduated from Cerritos High School.

Balboa attended Cerritos College, a local two-year community college from 1986 to 1987. At Cerritos, Balboa was both placekicker on the football team and a two-time 1st Team All-South Coast Conference soccer player. Cerritos College has retired Balboa's jersey number – #3.[3] In 1988, Balboa transferred to San Diego State University where he was a 1988 First Team and a 1989 Second Team All American soccer player.[4]


From 1987 to 1989, Balboa played the collegiate off-seasons on an amateur contract with the professional San Diego Nomads of the Western Soccer League. He was the 1988 WSA MVP.[5] In 1990, Balboa began his professional career with the San Francisco Bay Blackhawks of the American Professional Soccer League.[6] In 1992, he moved to the Colorado Foxes.[7] Marcelo played for León in the Mexican League in 1995 and 1996.

In 1996, he signed with Major League Soccer and the Colorado Rapids. Balboa played six seasons for the Rapids, leading as the team's all-time leader in many statistical categories. Traded to the MetroStars in 2002, Marcelo played only five minutes all year, sitting out the rest with injuries, and retiring afterwards.

Balboa ended his MLS career with 24 goals and 23 assists in 152 games. In 2005, Balboa was named to the MLS All-Time Best XI and elected to the National Soccer Hall of Fame on the first ballot along with Nick Folan. In 2012, he was inducted into the Colorado Hall of Fame.[8]

Balboa was known for a goal for the Rapids in 2000 against the Columbus Crew, named the MLS Goal of the Year for that season.


Marcelo Balboa earned his first cap on January 10, 1988 against Guatemala. He anchored the American defense in the 1990 and the 1994 FIFA World Cups, in the latter receiving international attention for his near miss with a bicycle kick[9] in the U.S. win over Colombia. He was named U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year in 1992 and 1994. In 1995, he became the first U.S. player to break the 100-cap barrier. In 1998, he joined Tab Ramos and Eric Wynalda as the first U.S. players to play in three World Cups. Balboa ended his U.S. career with 128 caps and 13 goals, and his final appearance came in a friendly against Iran on January 16, 2000.

International appearances


National TeamYearAppsStartsGoalsAssists
United States

U.S. national team goals

1May 30, 1990Eschen, Liechtenstein Liechtenstein2–14–1Friendly
2June 29, 1991Pasadena, California Trinidad and Tobago2–12–11991 Gold Cup
3August 28, 1991Brasov, Romania Romania1–02–0Friendly
4February 2, 1992Pontiac, Michigan CIS1–02-0Friendly
5May 30, 1992Washington, D.C. Republic of Ireland2–13–11992 U.S. Cup
6October 19, 1992Riyadh, Saudi Arabia Ivory Coast1–05-21992 King Fahd Cup
7January 15, 1994Tempe, Arizona Norway1–12–1Friendly
8February 13, 1994Hong Kong Romania1–11-21994 Carlsberg Cup
9March 12, 1994Fullerton, California South Korea1–11–1Friendly
10May 7, 1994Fullerton, California Estonia3–04-0Friendly
11June 11, 1995Foxborough, Massachusetts Nigeria2–23-21995 U.S. Cup
12January 16, 1996Anaheim, California Trinidad and Tobago2–02-01996 Gold Cup
13March 14, 1997San Diego, California Paraguay2–12-2Friendly


Team executive

After the 2004 MLS season, Balboa assumed a front office position with the Rapids.


Balboa debuted as a sideline reporter during ABC's coverage of the 2003 MLS All-Star Game and MLS Cup. In 2004, he became a regular announcer for ABC and ESPN's television coverage of the U.S. national team. Most recently, Balboa has paired up with baseball announcer Dave O'Brien as networks' #1 U.S. announcing team for the 2006 FIFA World Cup.[11]

In 2007, Marcelo started a soccer radio show, From The Pitch, which airs on Denver station Mile High Sports Radio.[12] Balboa served as an analyst for NBC Sports coverage of Soccer at the 2008 Summer Olympics.[13] He has been a guest soccer analyst on Telefutura's Contacto Deportivo.

In 2014, he was comentator of the U.S. Team matches for Univision at the World Cup in Brazil.

Quotes as Broadcaster

"There it was, the step. He stepped on him"-Describing when England player Wayne Rooney had stepped on the genital region of Portugal player Ricardo Carvalho and was dismissed from the game during the quarterfinals of the 2006 FIFA World Cup.[14]


In 2012, Monarch High School hired Balboa to coach the boys' soccer team.[15]

Personal life

Balboa resides in the town of Superior, Colorado.


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