Former captain of the St Vincent and the Grenadines football team Ezra Hendrickson Is among three persons who were recently inducted into the Indiana Soccer Hall of Fame.
Hendrickson, 49, who is originally from the coastal town of Layou, was inducted along with Dennis Grace and Rick Weber.
Grace served as Notre Dame’s second varsity men’s soccer coach, heading up the Irish program from 1984-1989 He also was the first varsity women’s soccer coach in the 1988 and 1989 seasons. He coached the Bloomington (Ind.) Cosmics club team for three seasons.
A collegiate soccer player at Indiana University, he earned two letters as a striker for the Hosiers in 1974 and 1975.
Weber served the Evansville and Mater Dei communities for over 30 years working diligently to establish and support athletics programs that enabled thousands of youth to participate in soccer on the local, state and national levels.
He was awarded the Jay Fredrich Good of Soccer Award in 2016.
Hendrickson is Assistant Coach for reigning 2020 MLS Cup Champions Columbus Crew SC, having joined the Club on July 3, 2019.
He began his coaching career with Seattle Sounders FC, where he served as Head Coach Sigi Schmid’s assistant coach from 2009-2014, before becoming the Head Coach of Seattle Sounders FC 2 from 2015-2017. During his time with the Sounders, Hendrickson helped the club win a Supporters’ Shield (2014) and four Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup titles (2009, 2010, 2011, 2014). Following his time in Seattle, Hendrickson joined Schmid at the LA Galaxy, where he worked as an assistant coach during the 2018 season.
In addition to his coaching experience in the US, Hendrickson also served as an assistant coach for Vincy Heat from 2015-2018.
A former player, Hendrickson played professionally for 14 years in a career that included stints with Crew SC (2006-2008), Chivas USA (2005-2006), D.C. United (2004), the Charleston Battery (2003-2004), Dallas Burn (2003), the LA Galaxy (1997-2003), the New York MetroStars (1997), the New Orleans Riverboat Gamblers (1995-1996) and the Des Moines Menace (1994).
According to information, Hendrickson made 266 regular-season appearances (225 starts) in MLS regular-season action, while scoring 23 goals and providing 30 assists. The Vincentian won MLS Cup three times (2002, 2004, 2008), the Supporters’ Shield three times (1998, 2002, 2008), the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup once (2001) and the Concacaf Champions’ Cup once (2000). Notably, Hendrickson was a member of the 2008 Crew SC squad that achieved a domestic double by winning MLS Cup and the Supporters’ Shield.
The Indiana Soccer Foundation said it was “proud to announced the 2021 Indiana Soccer Hall of Fame Class:” Ezra Hendrickson, Dennis Grace and Rick Weber.
The three inductees were honoured via a virtual ceremony because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In his comments during the ceremony, Hendrickson stated: “First of all I just want to see congrats to the other two inductees.
I’m very honored. It’s a very special accomplishment for me, having played the game, having played it professionally and won a couple MLS cups, you know, you remember those things. But, growing up in Indiana and not having a high school team and playing basically club soccer – at the time it was called Howard County Soccer Club – and it kind of starting that soccer trend in the area and when I go back, people telling me ‘you guys started our high school because you guys were so good at the club level back then.’
And we felt like we needed somewhere for players to play at the high school level.’
“So those kind of things, you know, being an inspiration for our community and for younger players who want to play the sport, I think that really means a lot to me and that place a lot in my heart.”
Hendrickson said that as second coach for Sounders, once they got their second team, where they needed someone basically to work with the development of the younger players, he “stepped down as assistant coach to do that, to become the head coach of that team because getting players to achieve their potential and helping them reach their potential that they might not even know they have, that’s something I take dear to my heart.”
Hendrickson said that being among other coaches and persons he knew and grew up with and looked up to, and the people who were part of the Indiana Soccer Foundation it was an honor.
“It’s an honor to join those type of people with this honour. So, to everyone, I wanna say thank you very much. I know some of my family members are following on air, you guys did a lot, played a lot in my development as a soccer player and as a person, as a man, so I want to thank you guys for that also…
“All in all, I just wanna say thanks to the Foundation, thanks to the Hall of Fame for my induction and I’m glad to be a part of it.”
At the international level, Hendrickson earned 123 caps for Saint Vincent and the Grenadines from 1995-2008, serving as a captain of Vincy Heat.