June 6, 2006
Former Clemson men’s soccer player Oguchi Onyewu, a starter on the United States National Soccer team that will begin competition in the World Cup this week, is on the cover of Sports Illustrated for its June 5, 2006 issue. This is the ninth time a current or former Clemson athlete has been on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
Onyewu is the first former Clemson athlete to adorn the cover of Sports Illustrated since 2000 when William Perry was on the cover in conjunction with a “Where are they Now?” feature. It was the second time on the cover for Perry, who shared a cover with Dallas Cowboys defensive player Ed Jones in August of 1986. Perry’s Chicago Bears were going to play the Cowboys in London in the first overseas preseason game and the two were posed at Buckingham Palace.
The first cover with a connection to Clemson took place in January of 1982 when Perry Tuttle was featured on the cover after Clemson won the National Championship of college football. That is the only time an athlete in a Clemson uniform has appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
After never having a cover with a Clemson connection for the first 28 years of the magazine, Dwight Clark made it two consecutive weeks with a Tiger connection when he was featured making “The Catch” for the San Francisco 49ers against the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC Championship game.
Former Clemson basketball player Horace Grant was on the cover twice as a member of the Chicago Bulls and former Clemson defensive tackle Brentson Buckner was on the cover as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1994. Former Clemson baseball player Mark Davidson was on the cover as an unidentified member of the World Champion Minnesota Twins in 1987.
Onyewu is the first former Tiger to be chosen to the United States World cup Team since Bruce Murray in 1990. Onyewu played for Clemson in the 2000 and 2001 seasons and was named to the Soccer America MVP team in 2001 and was named a NSCAA All-American in 2001. Onyewu was a Hermann Award Finalist in 2001.
During his career at Clemson, he was named first-team All-ACC in 2000 and 2001 and signed a professional contract with F.C. Metz of France in the spring of 2002. Onyewu scored the game-winning goal in the ACC Championship match vs. North Carolina (11-3-01) and two goals in the closing minutes of the NCAA Tournament match vs. Alabama-Birmingham (12-2-01). He was also named to the ACC’s 50-Year Anniversary Team.
Onyewu cuurently plays for Standard Liege of the Belgium first division. He is one of 12 players on the United States team based overseas. The other 11 US players are currently playing in the MLS.
The US will play its opening match against Czech Republic on June 12 in Gelsenkirchen before meeting Italy in Kaiserslautern on June 17. They will finish the Group play June 22 against Ghana in Nuremberg.
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