Museum exhibit features local soccer icon Eddie Pope
If the World Cup seems a little too global for you, a new exhibit at the High Point Museum might be more your, um, cup of tea.
The exhibit, which opened this week in conjunction with the onset of the international soccer competition, features memorabilia from former Southwest Guilford High School soccer standout Eddie Pope, who went on to play for the U.S. national team, including nine World Cup matches.
“People who know soccer know who Eddie Pope is,” said Marian Inabinett, the museum’s curator of collections. “His parents (George and Lillian Pope) still live here in High Point. They have a ton of Eddie’s memorabilia, and they were very gracious to share some of it with us for this exhibit.”
Among the items in the exhibit are a couple of unique game-worn jerseys that belonged to Pope — his U.S. men’s national team jersey worn in the 2002 World Cup and autographed by his teammates, and his retired jersey from Southwest Guilford, which the school’s athletic department loaned to the museum.
“(The school) had it framed and on a wall in the gym, but they let us borrow it for this exhibit,” Inabinett said.
Another jersey in the exhibit goes back even farther — Pope’s High Point Stars soccer jersey from the early 1980s.
The exhibit also includes a couple of novelty souvenirs — an Eddie Pope bobblehead doll from his professional playing days with D.C. United, and a wooden soccer ball from the 2002 World Cup, signed by his teammates.
Pope, now 40, starred at Southwest Guilford and then the University of North Carolina before playing professionally — he enjoyed a successful 12-year career in Major League Soccer — and for the U.S. national team.
On the U.S. squad, Pope played in three World Cups — 1998, 2002 and 2006 — and is tied for the most World Cup qualifying appearances in U.S. history, with 31. Although primarily known as a defensive specialist, Pope scored eight World Cup goals for the United States.
Upon Pope’s retirement in 2007, former U.S. men’s coach Bruce Arena called him “arguably the finest defender this country has ever produced.”
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Want to go?
A display featuring memorabilia from retired soccer star — and former High Pointer — Eddie Pope is on exhibit at the High Point Museum, 1859 E. Lexington Ave.
The display, in conjunction with the playing of the World Cup, will remain on display through July 12.
Museum admission is free.