John Harkes grew up in the soccer hotbed of Kearny, New Jersey and played youth and high school soccer with future national team teammates Tony Meola and Tab Ramos. During his high school career, Harkes played in four New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association championship matches and led his team to the 1984 Group 4 State Championship and a 24–0 record.
A member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame, Harkes was the first American ever to play in the English Premier League with Sheffield Wednesday, the second American to score at Wembley Stadium, and the first American soccer player to appear in the final of a major English tournament in the 1991 Football League Cup Final.
After moving to Major League Soccer in 1996 he won two MLS Cup titles with D.C. United. A mainstay on the USMNT for most of the 1990s Harkes also appeared in two FIFA World Cup tournaments. He was named the team's "Captain for Life" by then-head coach Steve Sampson. Harkes ended his national team career with 90 caps and 6 goals.
Following his retirement, he served as a color commentator for ESPN's coverage of MLS and U.S. international matches, including the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
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