“He plays the game the right way. He treated the game the right way. Whether it was going great for us or bad, he was always fighting for you.” – C.J. Brown, Assistant Coach, Chicago Fire.
This statement appeared in the Chicago Tribune on October 23, 2014 as 2016 NC Soccer Hall of Fame inductee Logan Pause prepared for his final game with his club. Notably, it would be his 286th game in a 12-year career with the Fire, a mark of single-team longevity matched by only three players in MLS history. It was a conclusion to a competitive career that began on the soccer fields of North Carolina.
Pause grew up in Hillsborough and played club soccer for Carolina United and the CASL Red Caps. At Durham Jordan High School he was a four-year letterman and a Parade All-American as a senior, while on the ODP level he was a regular on the NC and Region III teams for six years (1993-1999). There were also stints on the U-16 and U-18 National teams. So it wasn’t much of a surprise when Logan made the decision to head a few miles down the road to play for UNC – Chapel Hill and Coach Elmar Bolowich (NC Soccer HOF 2012), as the Tar Heel mentor had made a point of recruiting in-state players. And Logan proved to be one of the best.
After an outstanding freshman season in 2000 in which he started 20 games, Pause’s sophomore campaign would prove to be quite eventful. Meniscus surgery just prior to the season cast doubts on his playing status, but he returned by UNC’s eighth game and notched the only goal in a 1-0 victory over Duke. The rest of the year only got better, as he would gain second-team All-ACC recognition as a center back while the Tar Heels would win their first College Cup, over Indiana 2-0.
In 2002, Pause would serve as UNC co-captain and attain first-team All-ACC honors. Meanwhile, there would be two events that would affect his playing career. First, he would continually move between defensive back and midfield positions due to team injuries. But his level of play would remain high, and it would highlight the versatility that would mark his professional career. Second, he would leave school after his junior season to sign a MLS Project-40 contract and enter the 2003 MLS SuperDraft, where he would be the Chicago Fire’s third team selection (24th overall).
In Chicago, Logan would quickly get people’s attention by contributing right away, making 21 appearances and 15 starts. He would later note that his best soccer moment would be his professional debut against DC United, where he would start and play all 100 minutes. There would be other good things happening, however, as the team would win the MLS Supporters Shield and the 2003 U.S. Open Cup. And to show that his contribution wasn’t a one-time thing, he would start 19 games for the Fire in 2004.
The remainder of Pause’s professional playing career is a testament to his durability and opportunism. He would appear in four games for the U.S. Under-23’s in 2004 Olympic Qualifying and would get the first of six international caps with the Men’s National Team on July 4, 2009 by playing 90 minutes against Grenada and getting an assist. In that same year he would receive the MLS Humanitarian Award, while he would be team MVP in 2010 and would win the MLS Fair Play Award in 2012.
One can understand the bond between fans and Logan Pause as his career wound down, but it wasn’t over. In November, 2014 he was named Vice-President of the Chicago Fire Soccer Club. Congratulations on a stellar career in the Windy City. Now, welcome home as a 2016 inductee of the North Carolina Soccer Hall of Fame!