Hector Marinaro

Induction Year: 2005 Sport: Soccer

He came to Cleveland from Mississauga, Ontario, Canada in 1983 to play for pay for Cleveland’s professional indoor soccer team, the Cleveland Force. His rookie season left ample room for improvement, covering five games and producing one assist. His chance to redeem himself would be a long time coming. It would be six years, and stints with the Minnesota Strikers and Los Angeles Lazers, before he would appear in a Cleveland uniform again as a member of the renamed Cleveland Crunch. It would prove to be a historic reunion, on which would last 15 years and enable him to make a convincing case for a permanent place on a list of the city’s all-time time finest athletes. When the case was closed in 2004 there as no disputing the verdict. The evidence included 1,223 goals and 761 assists in 685 regular season games, another 224 goals and 104 assists in playoff games, six league MVP awards, and election to 14 All-Star teams. Fourteen times he helped lead his team into playoffs and three times – in 1994, 1996 and 1999 – to the championship of the National Professional Soccer League. The first of those titles, in 1994, marked Cleveland’s first in any professional sport since the Cleveland Browns’ NFL championship in 1964. When he retired as the all-time leading scorer in professional indoor soccer, he had for some time been generally acclaimed as the best indoor soccer player in U.S. history. In May of 2005, the Major Indoor Soccer League cemented that claim by announcing its Most Valuable Player Award would henceforth be known at the Hector Marinaro Trophy. The popular Marinaro elected to remain in Cleveland after his retirement and currently makes his home in Brunswick with his wife, Jodi and their two children.