NEW YORK – Voting for the 2011 class of the National SoccerHall of Fame has kicked off and there is a strong chance it could wind up beingan all-MLS class based on the names that are up for election in three differentcategories: Player, Veteran and Builder.
The “Player” ballot features 25 names including five newadditions, who are all MLS legends and former US national team players in theirfirst year of eligibility: Chris Armas, Cobi Jones, Jason Kreis, Carlos Llamosaand Eddie Pope. Kreis is the current head coach of Real Salt Lake while CarlosLlamosa is a current assistant at Chivas USA.
These newcomers are in competition with several otherimportant figures from the early years of MLS: Mike Burns, Mauricio Cienfuegos,Raúl Díaz Arce, Marco Etcheverry, Robin Fraser, Chris Henderson, Roy Lassiter, Joe-MaxMoore, Peter Nowak, Carlos Valderrama and Peter Vermes. Three are current MLShead coaches (Fraser, Nowak and Vermes) while two are technical directors(Burns and Henderson).
Alsoin the running are former indoor goalkeeper Victor Nogueira, five former women’snational team players, two Americans who started in Holland and made it to MLS(Earnie Stewart and John O’Brien) and Steve Trittschuh, who is in his lastattempt to make it in the Hall of Fame as a player before getting moved to theVeteran ballot.
Anyplayer appearing on at least 66.7 percent of ballots will be enshrined.
The 2011 edition of the “Veteran” ballot consists of 10former players, of which the most recognizable among fans will be current SanJose Earthquakes general manager John Doyle, New York Red Bulls broadcaster ShepMessing and former Colorado Rapids manager Glenn “Mooch” Myernick.
World greats George Best (Wales) and Teófilo Cubillas(Peru), who starred in the NASL, are also still in the running for a place inthe Hall in this “Veteran” category. The top vote-getter with at least 50percent of the ballots earns induction.
The MLS hopefuls of the seven individuals on the “Builder”ballot are current Seattle Sounders manager Sigi Schmid and Bob Gansler, wholed Kansas City to the 2000 MLS Cup. Here, too, the top vote-getter with atleast 50 percent of the ballots enters the Hall of Fame.
Voting in all three categories by a predetermined pool ofvoters runs through March 11 and results will be announced this S\spring.
Although the National Soccer Hall of Fame is no longerhoused in a permanent headquarters, the elections have continued under theauspices of the US Soccer Federation. The 2010 induction ceremony was conductedat the New Meadowlands Stadium in conjunction with the international matchbetween the USA and Brazil.