Dr. Joe Machnik inducted into U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame

Video Details

Dr. Joe Machnik talks to Alexi Lalas about being honored by U.S. Soccer and more.

- I'm here with Dr. Joe. Dr. Joe Machnik, congratulations. The newest inductee into the US soccer Hall of Fame. Congratulations, my man.

DR. JOE MACHNIK: Thank you so much, Alexi. It's certainly an honor. I can't believe it. But 60 years in the game, you know, somebody recognized that I might have done something somewhere some place some time. So I'm so happy about it.

- Well, not only did you do something, you did a lot of things. And you talked about your 60 years in the game. Give us a little perspective because I think in this moment in time in US soccer we lack a little bit of that perspective. Give us some perspective on and off the field of how far we've come and how you've played a part.

DR. JOE MACHNIK: Well, I don't know that I played a part. But, you know, I was a player, a goalkeeper. I actually played on the 1966 Open Cup champion, New York Ukrainians back in the day when the Open Cup didn't have any major professional teams in it. I got into coaching. Coached at Long Island University and University of New Haven. And in my first year as a college coach we went to the final championship game, losing to San Francisco, with [INAUDIBLE] Hacienda on the field as a player.

And that led to, you know, coaching with the national team as a goalkeeper coach in the '90 World Cup and five aside team a bronze medal. The first men's team to ever win a FIFA medal. And I don't know, refereed a few games too--

- Yes. You did.

DR. JOE MACHNIK: Including the 1988 NCAA final and a lot of games in major indoor soccer league. So I was a player, a coach, a referee, and they're giving me this Hall of Fame honor as a builder.

- Administrator?

DR. JOE MACHNIK: Administrator and now occasionally with you and colleagues at Fox, talk about soccer on the air once in a while.

- Yeah. Well, we have a blast working with you. So aside from working with us, which has to be the highlight of your career, give us the one moment that you're most proud of.

DR. JOE MACHNIK: Well, I think, you know, everyone says the game in Trinidad and Tobago, when Paul Caligiori scored the magic goal. After that game, Sunil Galotti came into the locker room and he shook my hand because people seem to forget that Tony Meola had four consecutive shut outs leading to that qualification process. And without those shutouts, even the giving of one goal in any of those games, we don't qualify for the '90 World Cup. So that-- that's a magic moment for me.

- Well, when you look at going forward, because you're still a huge part of this American soccer culture, what do you see on and off the field in terms of what's good and maybe even some things that need to be fixed.

DR. JOE MACHNIK: You know, I was a very good friend of Walter Jesuit's, the former national team coach and director of coaching. And he passed away 23 years ago. If he was alive today, or just came back, you know, visited for an hour, he wouldn't believe where soccer is today. The number of games that are on television 24 hours a day. The number of soccer facilities, which we never had when we played way back when. And obviously, girls and women's soccer, which didn't exist at the time. And just, you know, soccer is now the fourth most watched sport, the fourth most participated in sport in America.

So it's-- it's-- the growth and development has been incredible.

- Last question. What are you a doctor of?

DR. JOE MACHNIK: I went to the University of Utah and graduated with a PhD in leisure studies. And my thesis was recreation and planned retirement villages, which was so ahead of its time in 1973 that maybe I should resurrect it.

- Well, Dr. I want to congratulate you. And I want to thank you for everything that you have done for US soccer, on and off the field. Have a wonderful time at the ceremony. And onwards and upward. Thank you.

DR. JOE MACHNIK: Thank you so much. It's been a pleasure.