Saturday, February 3, 2018

Honduras Greatest All-Time Team

Honduras Copa America 2001
Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.

Honduras played its first ever international game in the Independence Centenary Games in September 1921, losing 10–1 to Guatemala.  Its first inclusion to the international was a rude awaking.  At the time of writing, Honduras has qualified three times for the World Cup Finals, in 1982, 2010 and 2014. Honduras won the 1981 CONCACAF Championship and qualified for the World Cup for the first time in 1982. It has also participated in Copa America as an invited team.  In 2001, Honduras shocked Brazil by beating 2-0 in the quarterfinal and reached the semi-final of the Copa America held in Colombia.

Prior to the qualification stages leading up to the 1970 World Cup in Mexico, Honduras and El Salvador found themselves in what was called the Football (Soccer) War. This nickname was given to the situation after an elimination game was played between the two countries which ended in a draw. The end of this important soccer game coincided with a political crisis involving both countries. This crisis eventually turned into a war which lasted approximately 100 hours.

This is my all-time team for the Honduras. If there were an All-Time World Cup, this would be the 23 players I would bring to the tournament.  
Honduras World Cup 2014

GK: Noel Valladares
Noel Valladares played domestic football at home with FC Montagua and Olimpia. In 2003, he played a few games as a striker with Montagua. He is the 2nd leading cap holder for the national team.  He earned 135 caps as he was a major player during the World Cup Finals in 2010.  He earned the Man of the Match award against Switzerland.  His nickname in the Honduran squad is The Secret due to his shy personality away from the field. 
Noel Valladares
GK: Julio Cesar Arzu 
Nicknamed Tile, Julio Cesar Arzu started his career in 1975.  He has played for Honduran side Real España, in Spain for Racing de Santander and had a spell with ADET in El Salvador. With Real España he once kept successive clean sheets totalling 686 minutes. He was their starting goalkeeper at the 1982 FIFA World Cup Finals in Spain.

GK: Wilmer Cruz
Nicknamed Pájaro (Bird) and Supermán, Wilmar Cruz played 129 league matches for Real C.D. España and also had spells with Platense F.C., F.C. Motagua and Deportes Savio as well as short stints with C.D.S. Vida, Independiente Villela and C.D. Victoria. He played his final league game in January 2001 for Savio against Olimpia. he had 63 caps.

CB/RB: Allan Costly 
Nicknamed Cochero ("The Coachman"), Allan Costly had 41 caps.  He played at the 1977 FIFA World Youth Championship.  He was a part of Honduras' 1982 World Cup team in Spain.  It was Honduras' first ever World Cup Finals. He played mainly at home for Real Espana, but also briefly with Malaga in Spain during the 1982-1983 season. His son is Honduran international striker Carlo Costly.
Allan Costly 
RB: Mauricio Sabillón 
Sabillón began his career with Marathón in 1999 and remained at the club for more than ten years and was viewed as one of the teams top players. He joined China's Hangzhou Greentown in 2010.  Sabillón made his debut for Honduras in a May 2010 UNCAF Nations Cup match against Panama and has earned a total of 49 caps, scoring no goals. He was a part of the World Cup team in 2010.

CB/LB: Maynor Figueroa 
Maynor Figueroa is known for his career with Wigan in the English Preimership, whom he played between 2008 ands 2013. He also played in the MLS with Colorado Rapids and FC Dallas.  Since 2003, he has played for the Honduran national team, serving as its captain. He played in the World Cup Finals in 2010 and 2014. At the time of writing, he has 146 caps, the second most for the Honduran National Team.
Maynor Figueroa and Emilio Izaguirre 
CB: Samuel Caballero
Caballero began his career with hometown club Deportivo Melgar. He played with Olimpia from 1996 to 2001. In 2001, he moved to Serie A to play for Udinese, where his career was derailed by an injury. He later played with Salernitana, Defensor in Uruguay, Chicago Fire in the US, Changchun Yatai in China and Necaxa in Mexico.  Caballero has played an important part at the national team setup for over 10 years. He was a part of the team that reached the Copa America semifinal in 2001.

LB: Emilio Izaguirre 
Emilio Izaguirre started his career with Montagua.  He was a key payer with Celtic in Scotland from 2010 to 2017.  He won the Scotland's Premiership Player of the Year, the SFWA Player of the Year and SPFA Player of the Year and Celtic Player of the Year in 2010, making a sweep of all individual award in Scotland. He also played a single season in Saudi Arabia for Al Fayha. For Honduras, he earned over 90 caps.  He went to the World Cup Finals in 2010 and 2014.
Emilio Izaguirre
RB/DM: Danilo Turcios  
Turcios began his career with Universidad. He played with F.C. Motagua, Deportivo Maldonado, Defensor Sporting, Peñarol,  Estudiantes Tecos of Mexico, Olimpia, Comunicaciones of Guatemala, Atlanta Silverbacks and UPNIFM. He had a very unsuccessful and controversial time with Real Sociedad.  He had 87 caps.  He went the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, the 2001 Copa America and the 2010 World Cup.

DM: Wilson Palacios  
Wilson Palacios started with Olimpia at home.  He played in the English Premiership between 2007 and 2015 for Wigan, Tottenham Hotspurs and Stoke City. He also had a spell in the MLS with  Miami. He had three brothers who also played for Honduras.  He himself earned 97 caps. He went to 2010 and 2014 World Cup Finals.

DM: Gilberto Yearwood 
Gilberto Yearwood is regarded as Honduras' greatest ever player.  He spent 10 seasons playing in Spain between 1977 and 1986.  He played for for Elche CF, Real Valladolid, CD Tenerife and Celta de Vigo. At home, he played with Real Espana, C.D. Olimpia, F.C. Motagua and C.D. Marathón. He made his international debut at the 1982 World Cup Finals in Spain. He had 46 caps for Honduras between 1982 and 1993. He scored his only goal for Honduras in 1991 against Jamaica.
Gilberto Yearwood 
DM: Ramon Maradiaga
Nicknamed "Primitivo", Ramon Maradiaga played with F.C. Motagua as well as Salvadoran giants Águila and Alianza. He also had half a season in Europe, for Spain's Tenerife in 1984. He finished his career at Tela Timsa after the 1991–1992 season. He had 47 caps and went to the 1982 World Cup Finals in Spain.

DM/LW/LB: Roger Espinoza 
Born in Honduras, his family moved to the United States, where he grew up. He was a college star player before entering the MLS with Sporting Kansas City.  He played one year with Wigan in 2013-14 season.  At the time of writing, he is capped 46 times.  He played in both World Cup Finals in 2010 and 2014.

RW: Edgar Alvarez
Nicknamed El Mosky or El Jet Álvarez, he moved from Deportivo Platense to Penarol of Uruguay in 2003.  He went templet in Italy in 2005. He joined AS Roma, but played on loan with Messina, Livorno and Pisa. In 2009, he joined Bari.  Later, he played Palermo and Dinamo București.  Since 2002, he had over 50 caps.  He was a member of the 2010 World Cup team.

AM: Julio César de León 
He started with Platense at home. Signed by Reggina, he played for them well in Serie B, but later he was sent on loan to Fiorentina, Teramo, Catanzaro and Sambenedettese. He later played for Parma, Genoa, Shandong Luneng, Messina, Real Sociedad, Miami FC, etc. He had 83 caps. He also competed for Honduras at the 2000 Summer Olympics and he also was part of the squad that came third in the 2001 Copa América.

AM: Amado Guevara  
Amado Guevara is the all-time cap leader for Honduras.  He captained them at the 2010 World Cup Finals in South Africa.  He was best remembered for taking Honduras to third place at the Copa America in 2001.  He was the MVP of the tournament.  He was also the MLS MVP in 2004 while playing with New York Metrostars (now called Red Bulls). He also played domestic football at home as well as in Spain, Costa Rico and Mexico.
Amado Guevara 
FW: Wilmer Velásquez
He is currently the second all-time top goalscorer in the Honduran National Football League with 196 goals. He started his career with Olimpia in 1990.   He also played for Concepción in Chile, Sport-Recife in Brazil and Atlas in Mexico.  In 2005, Velásquez was crowned one of the Top Goalscorers in the World by the International Federation of Football History and Statistics. He made 15 goals with both the  national team and his club, Olimpia.

FW: Jorge Urquía
Jorge Urquía began his  career  with Club Atlético Indio de Tegucigalpa. In 1968, he joined Olimpia, where he became a star. With Olimpia, he won the CONCACAF Champions Cup in 1972 . In 1973 , Jorge Urquía  joined Alavés in Spain. He was later transferred to the Mallorca. He represented Honduras at the 1982 World Cup Finals in Spain.

FW: José Cardona 
José Cardona was a star footballer  in the 1950's.  He played for Lusitano in Portugal before moving to Spain in 1959.  He was signed by Valencia, but was on loan to Elche in the 2nd Division, where he was the top scorer in 1959.  In 1964, he moved to Atletico Madrid.  He scored the winning goal as Atletico Madrid won Copa del Generalísimo in 1965.  He played in the 1968 World Cup qualifying match against El Salvador that led to the Football War.
José Cardona

ST: José Roberto Figueroa
In Honduras, José Roberto Figueroa played for for F.C. Motagua and C.D.S. Vida.  He was a member of Honduras' World Cup team in 1982.  After the World Cup Finals, he joined Real Murcia in Spain, helping them to reach La Liga.   He also played for Hércules CF.  At the end of his career, he played in Costa Rica with C.S. Cartaginés.  

ST: Carlos Pavon
Carlos Pavon has played for many clubs around the world, including Real Espana at home, Geona and Udinese in Italy, Real Valladolid in Spain, LA Galaxy in the USA, and many clubs in Mexico, including Toluca, San Luis, Correcaminos, Necaxa, Cruz Azul, and Celaya. He is Honduras' all-time leading scorer. He made a single appearance at the World Cup Finals in 2010, where he retired afterward.

ST: David Suazo 
David Suazo is probably the most famous player from his country. He started with Olimpi, but he was more known for his career in Italy, where he spent 13 years playing over 300 games.  He played for Cagliari and Inter Milan in Italy, and briefly with Benfica and Genoa.  He was the co-winner of the Serie A Foreign Player of the year in 2006, which he shared with AC Milan's Kaka. He had 57 caps between 1999 and 2012.  He went to the World Cup Finals in 2010. 
David Suazo
Honorable Mention
Boniek García, Milton Nunez, Jorge Urquia, Andy Najar, Eugenio Dolmo Flores, Arnold Cruz, Carlo Costly, Jamie Villegas
Cesar Obando, Jimmy James Bailey, Wilmer Velásquez, Roberto Figueroa "El Macho".

Squad Explanation
-- Gilberto Yearwood is probably Honduras' greatest player.  He went to the 1982 World Cup Finals.  He is an automatic selection.  Amado Guevara and Emilio Izaguirre should easily make the team as well.  David Suazo and Carlos Pavon are also some of the greatest players from Honduras.
-- Honduras went to three World Cup Finals, but their greatest achievement came in 2001 when they beat Brazil 2-0 and reached the semifinal of the Copa America.  Amado Guevara was chosen the MVP of the tournament.  Samuel Caballero, Danilo Turcios and Julio César de León also went to that tournament.
-- The 1982 World Cup in Spain was Honduras' first ever World Cup Finals. Julio Cesar Arzu, Allan Costly, Gilberto Yearwood, Ramon Maradiaga, and José Roberto Figueroa from that team made this all-time team.  Allan Costly's son Carlos made honorable mention. In 2014, he went to the World Cup Finals, where he scored his country's first World Cup goal in 32 years.  The players ahead of Carlos on my all-time team included Carlos Pavon, David Suazo, José Cardona, etc.
-- Gilberto Yearwood made his national debut in the first match of the 1982 World Cup Finals against the host Spain.  It was Honduras' first ever match in the World Cup Finals.
-- Players not from the bigger European or South American countries seldom won Player of the Award. Emilio Izaguirre won the Scotland's Premiership Player of the Year, the SFWA Player of the Year and SPFA Player of the Year and Celtic Player of the Year in 2010, making a sweep of all individual award in Scotland. He did it as a fullback. 
-- David Suazo won the Foreign Player of the Year award in Italy, in 2006, which he shared with AC Milan's Kaka.  It was a great achievement for a player from CONCACAF.
-- I also noticed that a number of Honduran players played in Italy's Serie A in 2000's.  Besides David Suazo, the other players are Edgar Álvarez, Samuel Caballero, Julio César de León and Carlos Pavón.   They all made it to this team.  Meanwhile, five members of the 1982 World Cup team played in Spain around the time after the World Cup Finals.  They are Jorge Urquía, José Roberto Figueroa, Julio Cesar Arzu, Allan Costly, and Gilberto Yearwood.  No one played in Spain from the mid-1990's to 2010's.  Anthony Lozano who plays in Spain is not on my all-time team.  José Cardona played in Spain in the 1950's.
-- José Cardona went to play in Spain during the 1950's and 1960's. was one of the first player from Honduras to star for a club in Europe.  He played with Atlético Madrid in the 1960's, scorimg the winning goal at the Copa del Generalísimo in 1964.
-- Of course, MLS is a popular destination for Honduran players. Amado Guevara and Carlos Pavon were star players. Roger Espinoza also played there.
-- Surprisingly, three players on this team played domestic football in China.  They are Julio César de León, Samuel Caballero and Mauricio Sabillón.  At the time of writing, 13 Honduras players played in China.
-- Jamie Villegas was a legend at Real Espana, but the younger generation of players all succeeded at the higher level playing outside Honduras.  I put him on Honorable Mention.
-- Wilson Palacios along with his brothers Johnny and Jerry became the first trio of brothers to represent a single nation in the World Cup when all three of them went to the 2010 World Cup Finals.
-- Porfirio Bethancourth is among the greatest college soccer player in the United States, but I do not know if he is considered an all-timer for Honduras.
-- Honduras had great leftbacks. I selected three players who could play there. They are Roger Espinoza, Maynor Figueroa and Emilio Izaguirreis.  They were participants at the 2010 World Cup Finals in South Africa.
-- During his prime, Maynor Figueroa moved to centerback on the national team because of Emilio Izaguirre.  Honduras happened to have two of their greatest left backs from the same generation.
-- Injuries prevented Samuel Caballero from reaching stardom in Europe, but for the national team, he was among the greatest ever. Honduras was unlucky not to qualify for the World Cup Finals during his prime.
-- Cesar Obando's injuries kept him from becoming an all-time great.  He is on my honorable mention. Instead, I took
Ramon Maradiaga, the captain of the 1982 World Cup Team.
-- The team had too many fowards.  Milton Nunez was left off. And Andy Najar is only in his early 20's at the time of writing.  
-- Roberto Figueroa "El Macho".  He was one of the most important attackers in Real Murcia history.  He is their all-time leading scorer in La Liga.
-- Carlos Pavon is Honduras' all-time leading scorer.  He starred in the MLS during his prime.  Wilmer Velásquez is the second highest scorer.
-- Wilmer Velásquez is currently the all-time top goalscorer in the Honduran National Football League with 196 goals.  I feel that I should reward him for his domestic achievements.  Besides, he is the second leading scorer for the national team.



  1. Valladares
    Costly Caballero Figueroa Izaguirre
    Palacios Yearwood
    Cardona Costly Suazo

    This one is nearly identical. Carlos Costly was a key to both the 2010 and 2014 WC qualifications.