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August 2, 2008

Dorrance breaks through to other side

It's Anson Dorrance's turn to be in the main event, even if Mia Hamm is on the guest list.

Hamm will present Dorrance, her former U.S. National and North Carolina women's soccer coach, during the 2008 National Soccer Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.

The Soccer Hall's annual showcase begins at noon Sunday and will take place inside of the Oneonta shrine. The Hall hosted its first outdoor ceremony in 2007, when a record crowd estimated at 5,000 showed up for the inductions of Hamm, Julie Foudy, Bobby Smith and Alan Rothenberg.

Director of Museum and Archives Jack Huckel said the Hall is expecting 300-500 spectators this year but can accommodate roughly 800, if needed. Admission is free.

Hamm is sure to draw the most cheers Sunday, but center stage is reserved for Dorrance and his classmate, Hugo Perez.

"For Mia and Julie, you had to do it outside," Dorrance said of the 2007 ceremony. "I don't pretend I can draw a crowd like that. I'll be excited if my mom makes it and my wife and kids."

Dorrance, who starts his 30th season at North Carolina this fall, is no stranger to Hall of Fame Weekend.

"There's nothing more enjoyable than giving the speech for someone going in and sharing what you think of these amazing people," said Dorrance, who introduced Hall of Famers Shannon Higgins-Cirovsky in 2002, Michelle Akers in 2004 and Hamm last year. "This still has the same terror. I have to speak for myself and I'd rather sit back and listen."

Dorrance, 57, may be standing at the podium a long time, though.

His 648-32-19 record at North Carolina includes 18 NCAA Division I championships and a 94-7-1 mark in NCAA tournament games. North Carolina's last NCAA crown came in 2006 and marked the Tar Heels' third since the turn of the century (2000, 2003).

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