Oguchi Onyewu only played for the Clemson men’s soccer team for two seasons, but he made the most of his time as a Tiger and cemented himself as a legend within the program. Onyewu, regarded as one of the program’s all-time great defenders, helped his side to reach the Final 16 and Final 8 of the NCAA Tournament during the 2000 and 2001 seasons, respectively. He earned First Team All-ACC honors in both years and was named to the Soccer America MVP team as well as an NSCAA (now United Soccer Coaches) All-American in the latter year. Onyewu was also a finalist for the MAC Hermann Trophy, the most prestigious individual award in college soccer that is presented annually to the most outstanding male and female players of the year, in 2001.
Onyewu went on to have a decorated professional career around the globe, playing for European clubs such as Newcastle United, Milan, Sporting CP, Queens Park Rangers, and Sheffield Wednesday. Onyewu’s final season of professional action was with the Philadelphia Union of the MLS in 2017. At the international level, Onyewu played with the US Men’s National Team in both the 2006 and 2010 World Cups. As a result of his excellent play for his country in 2006, Onyewu earned U.S. Soccer’s Player of the Year Award, making him the most recent defender to receive the honor.
When his professional soccer career came to an end, Onyewu returned to his studies with Clemson and completed his degree by using the Tiger Trust Fund. Onyewu graduated in December 2020 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Language & International Business. In May 2022, it was announced that Onyewu would be inducted into the Clemson Athletic Hall of Fame.