Tabare "Tab" Ramos (born September 21, 1966 in Montevideo,
Uruguay) is an American soccer midfielder, considered one of the
most skillful players to ever wear the US jersey. Ramos was the
first player to sign with Major League Soccer, where he played
seven years with the MetroStars.
Born in Uruguay, Ramos emigrated to the United States and New
Jersey at the age of 11. He went to college at NC State and got
his first cap for the US National Team on January 10, 1988
against Guatemala, and also played in the 1988 Summer Olympics.
After playing for the US in the 1990 World Cup, he was named U.S.
Soccer Athlete of the Year in 1990. That year, Ramos signed with
a Spanish team Figueres, and then moved to Real Betis in 1992.
In 1994, Tab once again played in the World Cup, but his
tournament was ended prematurely after a vicious elbow to the
head by Brazilian midfielder Leonardo.
On January 3, 1995 Ramos became the first player signed with MLS,
allocated to the future New York/New Jersey franchise, which
became the MetroStars. For that year, the league loaned him out
to Mexican club Tigres. On September 7, 1997, Ramos scored one
of the most important goals in US history, against Costa Rica in
a 1-0 World Cup qualifier win. In 1998, he played in his third
World Cup, becoming one of the first three US players (Eric
Wynalda, Marcelo Balboa) to do so. With coach Bruce Arena
looking for veteran leadership for a must-win qualifier against
Barbados, Ramos made his last appearance in a 4-0 US win on
November 15, 2000. He would end up with 81 caps and eight goals
in his career.
Ramos retired from soccer after seven years with the MetroStars
(1996-2002) as the last original member of the team.
Unfortunately, his flashes of brilliance were interrupted by
long injury spells, as he never lived up to his potential in a
Metro jersey. Tab totaled just eight goals and 36 assists in MLS
play (ten goals and 39 assists in all competitions).
Ramos was elected to the National Soccer Hall of Fame on the
first ballot, in 2005.