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Frankie Hejduk      

American soccer player who currently plays midfielder and defender for the Columbus Crew of Major League Soccer.

He is best known for his tenacity, endurance and overall hustle on the field.

Frankie Hejduk attended San Dieguito High School, played three years of college soccer at UCLA, from 1992 to 1994, and was named an NCAA second-team All American his junior year. Upon leaving UCLA, Hejduk trained full time with the Under-23 United States national team until MLS's inaugural season in 1996.

Hejduk was drafted 67th overall in the 1996 MLS Inaugural Player Draft by the Tampa Bay Mutiny, with whom he would play his first three years in the league. Although he only played in 8 games as a rookie, Hejduk established himself on the Mutiny defense in 1997, playing in 22 games and registering 1 goal and 6 assists. He did much of the same in 1998, registering 3 goals and 1 assist with the team over 18 games, while missing significant time while playing in the 1998 World Cup.

Hejduk s performance in the World Cup inspired German giants Bayer Leverkusen to purchase his contract from MLS. After struggling at first with Leverkusen, Hejduk came on strong at the end of the season, starting 10 of the last 11 games for the team in the 1998-9 season, helping the team to earn a UEFA Champions League spot for the next season. Although Hejduk only appeared in 6 Bundesliga games for the team in 1999-2000, he played a significant role for the club in their Champions League campaign, appearing in 5 of 6 games Levekusen played. Hejduk's role at Leverkusen continued to dwindle in 2000 1, as he only appeared in three league games for the team and a single Champions League test, spending most of his time with their third division affiliate. In the 2001 2 season, Hejduk s role was even further diminished, as a shoulder injury kept him out of early season action, and he did not receive any playing time following his recovery. He was eventually sold to Swiss club FC St. Gallen, where he would spend the rest of the 2001-02 season and the 2002 3 season as well. At Gallen, Hejduk made seven appearances with the first team, but lost his spot as the season progressed.

Unable to find playing time in Europe, Hejduk returned to the United States and Major League Soccer for the 2003 season, where he was allocated to the Columbus Crew. Hejduk immediately found a spot as team leader right back for the Crew, and went on to start 23 games for the team that season, assisting on four goals. He played a similar role at right back and right midfield in 2004, starting 19 games and scoring 2 goals for a club that won the MLS Supporters Shield.

Hejduk has played a great deal for the United States men s national soccer team since 1996, despite the consternation of many fans concerned about his lack of technique. Nevertheless, Hejduk s hard work and tenacity have made him a valuable asset for a team that values defense and hustle very highly. Hejduk received his first cap for the United States August 31, 1996 against El Salvador. In his first start in December of the same year, he scored a goal against Guatemala in a World Cup Qualifier. Hejduk would go on to help the team qualify for the World Cup, where he would start two of the United States' three matches. Although Hejduk s role with the United States team waned while he was stuck in Germany, he seized an opportunity at the 2002 Gold Cup to take over the left back position vacated by David Regis, and held onto it to play an important role for the United States in the 2002 World Cup, starting four games from a left back position. In total, Hejduk has 72 caps with the full national team, during which he has scored five goals. On May 2, 2006, Hejduk was named to his third successive US World Cup roster for the tournament in Germany, but was replaced after suffering a torn ACL.

Hejduk is also an avid surfer and was a member of San Dieguito High School's state and national championship surfing team. He was a 1988 National Junior High School Surfing Champion and qualified for the 1989 U.S. Amateur Surfing Team by finishing 10th overall. He is a huge fan of Jamaican reggae legend Bob Marley and celebrates his scorings by replicating the hypnotic dances Marley did during his performances.


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