Four MLS standouts and a pre-MLS World Cup hero were elected into the National Soccer Hall of Fame on Tuesday.
MLS originals Cobi Jones and Eddie Pope head the class.
Jones spent his entire 12-year MLS career with the LA Galaxy, helping his team win two MLS Cups, two Supporters' Shields, the 2000 CONCACAF Champions' Cup and two US Open Cups. The former midfielder is also the all-time leader in caps for the US national team and participated in three World Cups.
Pope, also a veteran of three World Cups, was a three-time MLS Cup champion with D.C. United. The former central defender was also named MLS Defender of the Year in 2007 with Real Salt Lake.
Joining Jones and Pope is longtime US teammate Earnie Stewart, a Dutch-born American who won an MLS Cup in 2003, the first of his two seasons with DC.Elected on the builder ballot was Bob Gansler (at right), coach of the US' 1990 World Cup team and longtime manager of the former Kansas City Wizards. Gansler coached KC to the 2000 MLS Cup and Supporters' Shield double and took home MLS Coach of the Year in the process.
Bruce Murray, the fifth all-time leading scorer for the US with 21 goals, was chosen on the veteran ballot.
Jones was named on 87 percent of the ballots while Pope earned a spot on 74 percent of the ballots and Stewart on 71 percent. Murray and Gansler were both named on 58 percent of their respective ballots.
To be eligible for the Hall of Fame as a player, an individual must have been retired for at least three full calendar years but no more than 10 years, and either 1) played at least 20 full international games for the United States, or 2) played at least five seasons in an American first-division professional league and was selected as a league All-Star at least once.
The selection committee for the player election includes all current and former coaches of the US men’s and women’s national teams, active MLS and WPS coaches with a minimum of four years tenure, select soccer administrators, designated members of the media and all Hall of Famers.