Recently, the U.S. National Soccer Hall of Fame announced its list of candidates for induction. The HOF, which was established in Oneonta, New York in 1999, requires candidates to receive 66% of the available votes to gain induction. Here’s who I think gets in:
Jeff Agoos was a three time MLS all-star and five tie MLS Cup winner. He also earned 134 caps for the Nats and played in two world cups. He’s as deserving a candidate as there is in this current pool.
Thomas Dooley should also get the nod. He also played in a pair of World Cups for the Nats, and he won the 1992 U.S. Male Player of the Year Award.
Joy Fawcett is probably the biggest “sure thing” to be inducted in the group. She played 239 games for the Lady Nats and she contributed to two World Cup victories and two Olympic gold medals.
I like Dominic Kinnear for induction, but more because of his success as a coach than a player. He had a good career in MLS and played 54 times for the MNT, but its his back-to-back titles (and chance for a three-peat this year) that make his suitable to be enshrined. Sure, he’s from Scotland, but he played for the Yanks, so I’m considering him an American.
Roy Lassiter may not make it, but my two cents says he should. Sure, I’m biased because of my love for the Mutiny, but Lassiter did have a Herculean 27 goals in 1996. He’s the Roger Maris of soccer, and for that, I think he should be enshrined in the HOF.
Shannon MacMillan should also get in. She scored 60 goals for the WNT in 176 games, and she won a World Cup and an Olympic gold medal.
Joe Max-Moore, like Fawcett, is a no-brainer to be inducted. In 100 caps, he scored 24 goals for the MNT and he had a fine MLS career in New England. He also played in three World Cups where he was a team leader.
Cindy Parlow should also get in. She scored a whopping 75 goals in 158 games for the WNT, and she won a World Cup and two Olympic golds.
Earnie Stewart deserves recognition as well. He played in three World Cups in his career and 101 games overall for the MNT. He also won an MLS Cup and the U.S. Male Player of the Year Award.
Tisha Venturini earned 134 caps for the Lady Nats and, like the other women on this list, captured a World Cup and an Olympic gold medal.
Finally, Peter Vermes deserves induction both for his play and his contributions to U.S. Soccer. He is now the most sought after executive in MLS, and he will be a major force in American soccer for decades to come.
Marco Etcheverry also is deserving of induction. He was a four time MLS all-star and won three MLS Cups. He was also a league MVP, and had a great career for the Bolivian national team.
Poland’s own Peter Nowak should also gain induction. He was a three time MLS all-star, and he’s done a decent job with the U-23 Men’s Nats. He’s a closer call than some of these other candidates, but I believe his contributions to U.S. soccer make him worthy.
Preki should definitely get in. He’s the only player to win the MLS MVP Award twice, and he is the league’s all-time leader in points scored. Plus, he’s blossomed into one of the best coaches in MLS.
Last but certainly not least, Mr. Carlos Valderrama deserves induction. Yes, again, I am biased because of my love for the Mutiny, but one cannot deny that Valderrama was probably the best offensive maestro in the history of MLS. He was league MVP in 1996 and is still second in all-time assists (114), despite only playing a mere seven seasons.
Plus, I don’t know if they do bronze busts at the Soccer HOF like they do in Canton, Ohio for the NFL’s HOF, but I would love to see someone try to sculpt Valderrama’s crazy looking dome. If they ever make a HOF for memorable soccer haircuts, Valderrama will be a member of the inaugural induction class.