In contrast to the process of filling out my National Soccer Hall of Fame ballot, my Indoor Soccer Hall of Fame ballot was a breeze. It’s only the second time we’ve made selections – the inaugural class of 12 was inducted two years ago. With so many deserving candidates and so few already in, the first few stabs at this will consist of Level I guys (the absolute best players ever). So I just went through the long ballot and picked the best six players and one coach who I felt were the best who didn’t get in the first class. (We were limited to a total of seven between players, coaches and administrators.) My picks are after the jump.
Posts Tagged ‘soccer Hall of Fame’
Former US National Team stars Claudio Reyna and Tony Meola have earned election to the National Soccer Hall of Fame on the Player Ballot, while their former teammate Desmond Armstrong was the Veteran ballot choice and former US Women’s National Team coach Tony DiCiccio is this year’s Builder ballot pick, it was announced today.
Most of us believed Reyna and Meola were locks, and Captain America got a higher vote percentage (96.08%) than anyone in the modern era other than Mia Hamm (97.16% five years ago). Only Eric Wynalda and Michelle Akers have topped 90% since 2004. Marco Etcheverry finished third with 58.82%, just above where he was last year. The only real interesting thing in the rest of the top 10 (which was all they announced), at least to me, was that Jason Kreis got double the support he did a year ago (up to 30.39% from 15.84%). It may be his support will continue to grow, as we’ve seen with some others over time.
One thing appears to be pretty clear at this point, though: service for the US National Team is paramount to a majority of voters. No MLS player who didn’t play for the Nats has been elected (yet, Waldo was the first former MLS-er elected eight years ago).
I have to admit, as someone who likes to celebrate the American soccer player and our own history, if you’re going to set the bar there, there are worse things. I have voted for Etch and would continue to vote for foreign-born MLS players who have a major impact on our domestic league, but I’m not going to complain too loudly if Yanks are all that get in.
You can see the results of Player ballot voting since 2004 here.
For the seventh consecutive year, I’m one of the voters for the National Soccer Hall of Fame, and it’s a responsibility I take very seriously. I’ve made each of my previous six ballots and the rationales behind them public, so there’s no need to change now.
There are 12 newcomers on the 31-player ballot for 2012. Here’s the complete list (*first year): Raul Diaz Arce, Chris Armas, Jose Burciaga Jr.*, Mike Burns, Ronald Cerritos*, Mauricio Cienfuegos, Marco Etcheverry, Lorrie Fair*, Robin Fraser, Chris Henderson, Jason Kreis, Jen Lalor-Nielsen*, Roy Lassiter, Shannon MacMillan, Tony Meola*, Joe-Max Moore, Victor Nogueira, Peter Nowak, John O’Brien, Ronnie O’Brien*, Cindy Parlow, Ante Razov*, David Regis*, Claudio Reyna*, Tiffany Roberts, Thori Staples Bryan*, Carlos Valderrama, Greg Vanney*, Tisha Venturini-Hoch, Peter Vermes and Kerry Zavagnin.*
I voted for seven of those 31 last year, and while I’m not necessarily honor-bound to continue to do so, they’re a good starting point. The seven are Armas, Cienfuegos, Etcheverry, Fraser, Kreis, MacMillan and Noguiera. Meola and Reyna seem pretty obvious to me, which would give me nine. We’re allowed to vote for up to 10, but we don’t have to vote for 10. I’ve gone over most of these people in years past, so let’s take the other 10 newcomers and see if there are one or two deserving folks in that bunch:
- Jose Burciaga Jr.: Turned pro straight out of high school, and wasn’t ready for it. Came back twice from calamitous knee injuries and was an MLS Best XI pick in 2006. Is still only 30 years old and might be the youngest inductee ever if he made it. I don’t believe he will. NO
- Ronald Cerritos: The El Salvadoran international is the all-time leading scorer for MLS’ San Jose Earthquakes. He’s already in the ‘Quakes’ Hall of Fame, and I think that’s where it ends. NO
- Lorrie Fair: Absolutely one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met, and quite a fine player. Not a Hall of Famer, though. NO
- Jen Lalor-Nielsen: Played four years for the USA, including on the 1995 Women’s World Cup team (she didn’t see action in the tournament), several years overseas and three years in WUSA. Obviously a fine player. Not a Hall of Famer. NO
- Ronnie O’Brien: You can say “What if Dema Kovalenko hadn’t broken his leg?” but O’Brien came back from that the next year and was an MLS Best XI player in 2005, when he was just 26. He fell out of favor the next year under Dallas coach Colin Clarke and, despite a career resurgence in San Jose in 2008, just kind of disappeared. He’s still just 33. Good player. Not a Hall of Famer. NO
- Ante Razov: This is an interesting one. Razov was a gifted goal-scorer (76 goals in 151 appearances for the Chicago Fire, 30 more in four seasons for Chivas USA) who I got to see close up and who I quite liked. I don’t believe he was well-liked by many of his teammates or some of the club’s hierarchy, but if I needed a guy to score a goal, Razov in his prime would be a guy you’d like to have available for selection. He actually scored more goals (in fewer games) than Kreis, for whom I voted last year, and is fourth in MLS history (though his goals-per-90 minutes is behind guys like Roy Lassiter). Became a bit of a journeyman toward the end. I’d be surprised if he got 35% of the vote, but we’ll see. NO
- David Regis: I think the less said about David, the better. NON, MON AMI
- Thori Staples Bryan: A great college player who earned 64 caps in a decade spent with the US Nats (and was on the 1995 Women’s World Cup team – starting twice in four tournament appearances and an alternate in Atlanta in 1996). Fast and competitive, she loved the game enough to come back after more than four years away to play in the W-League at 34. Can’t see her making the Hall of Fame, though. NO
- Greg Vanney: An MLS original, he replaced the injured Armas on the 2002 World Cup roster before being injured himself just days later. Very good defender, hard-working, good guy to have on your back line. Don’t see him in the Hall, though. NO
- Kerry Zavagnin: A stalwart for the Kansas City Wizards and occasional player for the National Team, his career says solid pro and contributor to championship teams. But not transcendent. NO
So none of the other first-timers are quite there, it says here. That leaves me with nine guys, if I wish to include the players I’ve previously voted for. The only caveat to that is that I’ve voted annually for Victor Noguiera because of the whole anti-indoor thing the Hall has perpetuated. Now there’s an actual Indoor Soccer Hall of Fame (well, it’s virtual for now, but then again, so is the St. Louis Cardinals’, so there), and Noguiera was in the inaugural class (which I’m proud to say I was a voter for as well). I could leave him off this ballot, but I still think he’s one of the very best indoor players ever and should be in this hall, too. So he gets my vote for another year.
Here, then, is my final ballot for 2012: Chris Armas, Mauricio Cienfuegos, Marco Etcheverry, Robin Fraser, Jason Kreis, Shannon MacMillan, Tony Meola, Victor Noguiera and Claudio Reyna. That’s nine. That’ll have to be it this time around.
Your thoughts are welcome.
Cobi Jones, Eddie Pope, Earnie Stewart, Bruce Murray and Bob Gansler, all stalwarts of the US Men’s National Team, have been elected to the National Soccer Hall of Fame’s Class of 2011, it was announced today.
Jones, Pope and Stewart earned election through the Player Ballot, while Murray was the Veterans choice and Gansler is in through the Builders ballot.
Jones – in his first year on the ballot – won 87 percent of the vote, the highest since Mia Hamm was named on 97 percent of the ballots four years ago. Pope was also a first-time eligible and claimed 74 percent of the vote, while Stewart got in on his fourth try with 71 percent after a 58 percent approval rating a year ago.
I voted for Bruce Murray for as long as he was on the regular ballot (the Veterans and Builders categories are separate elections in which I don’t take part) and am glad to see the former Team USA captain get in. Ditto for Gansler, who coached the Mullet Brigade to Italia ’90.
What’s also interesting is Jason Kreis who retired as MLS’ all-time leading goalscorer and will have his number nine retired by Real Salt Lake this year, didn’t garner enough votes. We don’t know how close Kreis – or any of the others – came, because USSF didn’t release vote totals – not even the top ten. Hopefully they’ll rectify that oversight. Just as soon as Dave Checketts launches the investigation into why Kreis didn’t make it unanimously. (Hey, I voted for him, you can’t blame me.)
EDIT: The biggest surprise (to me, anyway) in the vote totals was that Jason Kreis only got 16% of the vote, less than Steve Trittschuh.
|Tisha Venturini Hoch||23.76%|
|Raul Diaz Arce||10.89%|
I don’t know if that was just a crowded ballot and you’re in your first year type of deal or if Kreis rubbed some voters the wrong way or what. Something must have happened for a guy who retired as MLS’ all-time leading goal scorer (and is still fourth) to get that little support.
This is the
seventh sixth year I’ve had a vote in the National Soccer Hall of Fame‘s player election, and the seventh sixth year I’ve made my ballot public. Some other voters do, some don’t, and I’m not going to call for transparency for everybody – I just believe in putting my thought processes on the record.
A bunch of technical stuff and my actual ballot are after the jump.
Here’s how the voting has gone for the National Soccer Hall of Fame for the last seven years (all I have are the top tens – my man Jack Huckel, late of the Hall, may have the complete lists, but whether he’ll ever share them, I don’t know). Those players who were elected are in bold.
|2004 VOTING (73 Votes Cast)|
|2005 VOTING (123 Votes Cast)|
|2006 VOTING (113 Votes Cast)|
|2007 VOTING (141 Votes Cast)|
|2008 VOTING (128 Votes Cast)|
|2009 VOTING (159 Votes Cast)|
|2010 VOTING (117 votes cast)|
Earnie Stewart’s support has been growing, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get in sometime soon. Shannon MacMillan is also trending upwards. Among the others who have been hanging around the ballot, I don’t see anyone who I think is an eventual lock.
Preki and Thomas Dooley are going into the National Soccer Hall of Fame. Where, exactly, they’ll do that is open to conjecture, but we’ll deal with that in a bit.
I voted for both (I believe this keeps my streak intact of never having not voted for someone who was inducted that year) and am happy for them both.
What’s really interesting to me, though, is that I may not have been alone in making Dooley do penance for past sins. Look at his percentage of the vote for the last several years:
2004 – 52.3%
2005 – 58.5%
2006 – 62.8%
2007 – 51.8%
2008 – 55.5%
2009 – 53.5%
2010 – 70.9%
That’s a pretty big leap. Still, he’s in, as was inevitable. He just had to wait a bit.
I’m also happy for Preki because, in addition to his obvious outdoor accomplishments for club and (adopted) country, he was a stellar indoor player. The Hall puts its hands in its pockets, looks up at the ceiling and whistles whenever the topic of indoor soccer is brought up. Guys like Steve Zungul and Hector Marinaro and Tatu absolutely belong in the Hall and indoor – which was all the soccer we had from 1985-1996 – shouldn’t be given short shrift.
As for the Hall itself, no one’s quite sure what’s going to happen. It closed to the public last fall, and yesterday’s release on the inductees – sent out, tellingly, by US Soccer and not by the Hall, which laid off my man Jack Huckel not long ago – said only that “The Class of 2010 induction ceremony will likely be scheduled for this summer. Details are still being finalized and will be announced at a later date.” (Italics mine.)
It’s possible that Preki and Dooley, who both had to wait years to be voted in, will have to wait a bit longer to actually put on the jackets and join the rest of the enshrinees. Will the Hall wind up in St. Louis? New York? Or as a traveling road show, only available in bits and pieces when it comes to your town?
The game deserves better. Hopefully it will get it down the road.
So, thanks to my man Dan Loney, I am reminded that Soccer Hall of Fame ballots are due tonight. Last year, I apparently had until early December. Caught me off guard.
Anyway, last year I voted for Jeff Agoos, Mauricio Cienfuegos, Raul Diaz Arce, Marco Etcheverry, Joy Fawcett, Robin Fraser, Pato Margetic, Victor Nogueira, Preki Radosavljevic and Carlos Valderrama. As soon as I transmitted the electronic ballot, I realized I hadn’t meant to vote for Diaz Arce. Luckily for me, my vote didn’t help him. And Agoos and Fawcett got in.
This year there are 24 names on the ballot and three of them (Chris Henderson, Eduardo Hurtado and John O’Brien) are first-timers. Four who were on last year’s 25-person ballot (Agoos and Fawcett, who got elected, and Frank Klopas and Pato Margetic, who did not) are not on this year’s list.
Seven people I voted for last year are back, but Diaz Arce was my mistake last year, so I’ve got six holdovers and ten spots – leaving four openings IF I vote for all six holdovers. While I don’t necessarily agree that ten votes is the way to go, those are the rules, so here we are, my rationale for voting for or against each of the 24 players:
- Mike Burns: Fine player. Not a Hall of Famer.
- Mauricio Cienfuegos: Terrific, outstanding player from MLS’ beginnings. Absolutely, yes, I’m voting for him.
- Raul Diaz Arce: Won’t make that mistake again. Fine player. Not voting for him this time.
- Thomas Dooley: As I’ve explained before, I’ve deliberately made Dooley sit in the penalty box the last few years because of his messy exit from Columbus and captaining the ’98 World Cup team. Now he’s served his time (in my eyes, we’ll see if his support moves off where it’s been the last few years) and, yes, I’m voting for him.
- John Doyle: Good player. No.
- Marco Etcheverry: One of the best players MLS has ever had. Really remarkable contributor to DC for many years. Yes, he gets my vote.
- Robin Fraser: Voted for him last year, think defenders get shafted a lot, think he was a great player whose trophies and caps are few. Yes, I’m voting for him this year, too.
- Chris Henderson: I really liked Chris Henderson as a player. Just kept running and running, played forever, effective but not flashy. A man after my own heart. I don’t think he’s a first-ballot guy, but I may vote for him in the future.
- Eduardo Hurtado: Had a long career as a journeyman, from here to Ecuador. Scored a lot of goals early in MLS’ existence. A lot of guys scored a lot of goals early in MLS’ existence. Did you know he actually signed to play with the Cleveland Force of the Major Indoor Soccer League (the second one, not the first or third one)? The indoor game wasn’t for him. The Hall isn’t, either.
- Dominic Kinnear: Played for my team, too. Great coach. I don’t think he’s a Hall of Fame player.
- Roy Lassiter: The less said about Roy the better.
- Shannon MacMillan: I think she’ll get in, eventually.
- Joe-Max Moore: I love Joe-Max. Can’t put him in the Hall, though.
- Victor Nogueira: Has outdoor credentials, but, as I believe the Hall shafts indoor players, I vote for him on that basis. He’s one of the greatest non-scoring indoor soccer players ever. I realize I’m in the minority on this one. I just do what I can. A big yes
- Peter Nowak: Fabulous player. Wish he’d had a longer career, or that we could vote for combined player/coach contributions to the game. Had Hall of Fame ability, not sure the career was long enough (not that that was entirely his fault).
- John O’Brien: Welcome to the ballot, John. Write if you get work.
- Cindy Parlow: Terrific career. Not going in.
- Preki Radosavljevic: How did he not get in last year? He actually got less support last year than the year before. Can’t figure it. Maybe this year, where there aren’t a few clear favorites. Yes, I’m voting for him.
- Mike Sorber: Not in this group, no.
- Earnie Stewart: Didn’t vote for him last year, but only because of the numbers game and because I knew he’d be up for consideration again. His contributions to the national team and the fact that he did come back to the US to cap a long pro career make me okay with voting yes for him.
- Steve Trittschuh: Love Steve Trittschuh. Former Rowdie, former Mutineer. Can’t vote for him.
- Carlos Valderrama: Blah blah blah no defense blah blah blah never won anything blah blah blah. Great player, we were blessed to have him here. Watching him play was magic. But as I look at overall contributions to the game of soccer in this country, I don’t think I can vote for him anymore. He played. People watched. But did he really impact anything?
- Tisha Venturini-Hoch: Another terrific player. Another no vote.
- Peter Vermes: I’ve voted for him before, but won’t this time around. He was very good, just not Hall-worthy.
So that’s seven. This will be the first time I’ve not used my full complement of selections, then. I guess either I’m getting more conservative about what Hall-worthy means, or this isn’t a particularly sexy group. Probably a little of both.
While I’ve voted for lots of people who haven’t gotten in yet, I don’t believe I’ve ever failed to vote for anyone who did get in. That says something, I guess.
The inductees will be announced in early 2010.
The National Soccer Hall of Fame has announced the ten former stars on the ballot for this year’s Veteran Player election. I don’t vote in this one (Hall of Famers do), but here are some thoughts on the ten veterans up for election (they’re the exact same ten as last year, when no one was elected):
- Desmond Armstrong: I don’t think he’s going to make it. A fine player, but not HOF-worthy.
- George Best: At his height, he was a World Hall of Famer, if there was such a thing. He was not at his best during his time in America, though he did show flashes of the brilliance that led some to consider him the most talented player ever. There’s no telling what he could have become had he devoted a little less time to the booze and the ladies, but then again, he wouldn’t have been George Best without that, would he? Still, I don’t believe his contributions to the American game warrant a Hall nod.
- Teofilo ‘Nene’ Cubillas: He was a terrific player. I don’t see it happening for him.
- Linda Hamilton: Not even those arms in Terminator 2 can put her over the top.
- Lori Henry: An original WNTer, she only got five votes last time. Don’t count on it.
- Bill McPherson: Got three votes last time. Not happening. Won seven US Open Cups and played the most games in (original) American Soccer League history. That apparently doesn’t impress today’s voter.
- Shep Messing: A very interesting case could be made for Shep. He was a winner, a character and, yes, was famous. I wonder if his notoriety (or outspokenness since he traded the boots for the booth) rubs some voters the wrong way.
- Bruce Murray: I voted for Bruce Murray every year he was on the regular ballot, because I didn’t want today’s soccer fan to think American soccer history started in 1996. Murray was the original Captain America, and I think he belongs. But only 30% of the voters agreed last time.
- Glenn Myernick: Mooch finished second last year with 41% of the vote. He was a Herrmann winner, overall #1 draft pick and a very good player. Not flashy, which may hurt him.
- Kyle Rote, Jr.: Got the most votes last year (45%), but didn’t hit the 50% threshold. Most of the people I talk to seem to be incredulous that he’s not in already. He was a very, very, VERY good player, first off. Was he overhyped because he was American at a time when American soccer stars were (a) desperately needed and ( b) in very short supply? Sure he was. So was Ricky Davis, and he’s in. I realize many of today’s fans have no knowledge of the contributions he made to the sport in this country at a critical time, but the Hall of Famers should know better. He should be in.
The Hall plans to announce the Veteran inductee(s) (if any) early next year. We’re supposed to get the Player election ballot later this month. As I always do, I’ll share my ballot and thought processes with you then.
No Builder or Veteran earned election to the National Soccer Hall of Fame in results announced today, so it’s Joy Fawcett and Jeff Agoos and that’s it for 2009.
We media types can’t be trusted to vote on Builders or Veterans (not that we have a moral imperative anyway after not electing anyone in 2008), and here were the results from the Hall of Famers and “select administrators” who voted for Builders:
|Bruce Arena||32 votes||47.76%|
|Bob Gansler||31 votes||46.27%|
|Francisco Marcos||26 votes||38.81%|
|Tony DiCicco||24 votes||35.82%|
|Robert Kraft||22 votes||32.84%|
We may not have enough distance from Bruce Arena the National Team coach to induct Bruce Arena the Virginia and DC United coach who had a nice run with the National Team in 2002. Bob Gansler‘s role in getting the US to Italia ’90 is perhaps underrated. I’ve said before that Francisco Marcos’ accomplishments, both before and after starting a little indoor league out of his Dallas garage that still exists today as USL, merit enshrinement. Tony DiCicco? I can see that. I am not sure Robert Kraft‘s going to get there.
And the top five Veterans:
|Kyle Rote, Jr.||25 votes||44.64%|
|Glenn Myernick||23 votes||41.07%|
|George Best||21 votes||37.50%|
|Nene Cubillas||20 votes||36.71%|
|Shep Messing||19 votes||33.93%|
Rote surely meets the “Fame” requirements, but, despite leading the NASL in scoring one year, he’s not regarded as having been a particularly great player. Mooch won a Herrmann and had a long career as a player and coach, and it would be easy to induct him posthumously. George Best was obviously a fantastically talented player and scored perhaps the greatest goal in NASL history, but I’m not sure his contributions to the game in America warrant induction. Cubillas was a great player too, but I think Messing deserves more support (here he’s hurt by the Hall’s anti-indoor bias).
We’re caught in a bit of a conundrum here. You can’t be a real Hall of Fame if you’re not…you know…actually inducting people regularly, but you become a joke if you’re just letting people in willy-nilly. We have enough of a perception problem as a sport without being able to properly recognize the long history of the game in this country.
There’s a middle ground somewhere. Hopefully over time we’ll be able to reach it.