FRISCO, TEXAS — The National Soccer Hall of Fame at Toyota Stadium today released the names of the finalists for election to the Class of 2021, including 20 on the Player ballot and 10 apiece on the Veteran and Builder ballots. D.C. United have four former players and Kevin Payne, former club president, on this year’s ballot.
D.C. United legend Marco Etcheverry was pivotal to the Black-and-Red’s early success in Major League Soccer (MLS) and is one of the finalists for the veteran ballot in the The National Soccer Hall of Fame. Etcheverry was a dynamic and creative attacking player who was with the club from 1996 to 2003. In eight years in the nation’s capital, Etcheverry scored 36 goals and recorded 72 assists in 202 appearances across all competitions for D.C. United. During his time with the club, Etcheverry won seven trophies for the Black-and-Red including three MLS Cup Championships (1996, 1997, and 1999), two MLS Supporters’ Shields (1996 and 1999), the 1998 Copa Interamericana, and the 1996 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. In addition, he also won MLS MVP in 1997.
Jaime Moreno was another integral player to the Black-and-Red’s early dominance of MLS and is included on the veteran ballot list for 2021. The Bolivian was a prolific goalscorer for D.C. United and played an important role in establishing D.C. United as one of the most exciting teams to watch in the league at that time. In 14 years with the club from 1996 to 2010, Moreno scored 151 goals and recorded 78 assists in 373 appearances for D.C. United. Moreno won a staggering 12 trophies in his time with United including four MLS Cups (1996, 1997,1999, and 2004), four MLS Supporters’ Shields (1997, 1999, 2006, and 2007), three Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Championships (1996, 1998, and 2008) and the 1998 Copa Interamericana.
Tony Sanneh was also a prominent member of the Black-and-Red team in the early years of MLS. In three years with the club from 1996 to 1999, Sanneh was a pillar in the Black-and-Red team that won so many trophies. Sanneh won four trophies with D.C. United including two MLS Cups (1996 and 1997), the 1997 MLS Supporters’ Shield and the 1996 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. Sanneh scored the crucial first goal in the 1996 MLS Cup Championship against the LA Galaxy, a goal that would kickstart a D.C. United comeback from 2-0 down. He also recorded an assist and the game-winner in the 2-1 win against the Colorado Rapids in the 1997 MLS Cup Championship. Sanneh was added to the veteran ballot list for The National Soccer Hall of Fame.
While players are critical to the success on the field, there are individuals behind the scenes who are equally as important in establishing excellence at a club. Kevin Payne, former D.C. United Club President, was a main driving force behind D.C. United becoming one of the original MLS teams in 1996. In over 15 years with the club, Payne was renowned for building the supporter culture at D.C. United; a culture that would become the mould and standard for other clubs in the United States. Payne will feature on the builder ballot list and would be an important addition to commemorate the individuals that worked tirelessly to get soccer and MLS off the ground in the United States.
Austin FC head coach, Josh Wolff, played for D.C. United from 2011 to 2012; scoring five goals and recording eight assists in 39 appearances. Wolff is the only former D.C. United player on the player ballot for this year’s Hall of Fame finalists list.
The Hall of Fame’s new Selection Committees will vote Friday through Feb. 10 to select a class of two to four members. The 2021 class will be announced in March.
The 2021 Hall of Fame ceremony is scheduled for May 22 and will enshrine both the 2020 class (Carlos Bocanegra and Colin Jose Media Award Winner Andrés Cantor) and the 2021 class. The ceremony will take place in the National Soccer Hall of Fame, which is powered by NEC, followed by the Hall of Fame game between FC Dallas and a yet-to-be-named opponent and a concert featuring Willie Nelson.
Player Ballot Finalists
- David Beckham
- Gregg Berhalter
- Shannon Boxx
- Lori Chalupny
- Lauren Cheney Holiday
- Steve Cherundolo
- Kevin Hartman
- Frankie Hejduk
- Thierry Henry
- Keith Johnson
- Shalrie Joseph
- Pablo Mastroeni
- Josh McKinney
- Heather Mitts
- Oguchi Onyewu
- Christie Pearce Rampone
- Cat Reddick Whitehill
- Hope Solo
- Aly Wagner
- Josh Wolff
Berhalter and Hejduk are in their final year of eligibility in the Player category; if they are not elected, they will appear on the Veteran ballot next year. Five candidates — Johnson, Joseph, McKinney, Onyewu and Pearce Rampone — were selected to the Final Ballot in their first year of eligibility.
Johnson and McKinney were chosen to the Final Ballot following changes in 2020 that created a path to eligibility for U.S. Extended National Teams, including the Men’s and Women’s Para 7-a-Side National Teams, the Futsal National Team and the Men’s and Women’s Beach Soccer National Teams.
In addition to the 20 Finalists, 17 other players received Preliminary Ballot votes. The four eligible players who did not receive any votes — Kenny Cooper, Sebastien LeToux, Matt Stewart and Brittany Taylor — will be removed from the Player Eligibility List via the sunset rule. Each will regain eligibility on the Veteran list after 10 full years of retirement.
Veteran Ballot Finalists
- Marco Etcheverry
- Linda Hamilton
- Angela Hucles
- Clint Mathis
- Shep Messing
- Jaime Moreno
- Steve Ralston
- Tony Sanneh
- Kate Sobrero Markgraf
- Tisha Venturini-Hoch
Builder Ballot Finalists
- Esse Baharmast
- Clive Charles
- Joe Cummings
- Richard Groff
- Brian Hall
- Sandra Hunt
- Tim Leiweke
- Francisco Marcos
- Kevin Payne
- Kari Seitz
Depending on the year, only referees, coaches or contributors will be considered for induction, and every four years — including 2021 — all eligible Builders will be considered for election.
New voting rules and procedures ensure that two to four candidates will be elected annually.
- If both a Veteran and a Builder are being elected, the top two vote earners from the Player ballot also will be elected.
- If either a Veteran or a Builder are not being elected, the top three vote-earning Players will be elected if all three received at least 66.7% of the Voting Committee’s votes.
- If neither a Veteran nor a Builder are being elected, the top three vote-earning Players will be elected if all three received at least 50% of the Voting Committee’s votes.
- Candidates must be named to at least 50% of Voting Committee ballots to be elected.
Complete information about the election and eligibility procedures is available online at NationalSoccerHoF.com. The election process is administered by National Soccer Hall of Fame staff under election and eligibility guidelines established by the Hall of Fame Board of Directors.
Established in 1950, the National Soccer Hall of Fame is dedicated to the sport of soccer in America by celebrating its history, preserving its legacy, inspiring its youth and honoring its heroes for generations to come.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL SOCCER HALL OF FAME
The National Soccer Hall of Fame at Toyota Stadium opened to the public in Frisco, Texas, on Nov. 2, 2018, after calling Oneonta, N.Y., its home from 1983 through 2010.
The Hall of Fame marries artifacts — including all four FIFA Women’s World Cup Trophies won by the U.S. National Team — with technology such as facial recognition powered by NEC and virtual reality to deliver the most personalized experience in sports.
The 2021 National Soccer Hall of Fame induction ceremony is scheduled for May 22. It will be a combined ceremony that will enshrine members of the 2020 and 2021 classes. The 2020 ceremony was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The National Soccer Hall of Fame is powered by NEC and additionally sponsored by Major League Soccer, Heineken, Pepsi and WinStar World Casino and Resort.