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National Soccer Hall of Fame


National Soccer Hall of Fame

National Soccer Hall of Fame
Established 1950 (as institution in 1979)
Location Oneonta, New York
Type Professional sports hall of fame
Visitors 17,000 per year [1][2]

The National Soccer Hall of Fame is a private, non-profit institution established in 1979 that honors soccer achievements in the United States.

Induction into the hall is widely considered the highest honor in American soccer.[3][4][5][6]


  • History 1
    • Museum 1.1
    • Archive 1.2
  • Eligibility 2
    • Players 2.1
    • Veterans 2.2
    • Builders 2.3
  • Medal of Honor 3
  • Annual ballots 4
    • 2009 ballot 4.1
    • 2010 ballot 4.2
    • 2011 ballot 4.3
    • 2012 ballot 4.4
    • 2013 ballot 4.5
  • Inductees 5
    • Players 5.1
    • Builders 5.2
  • Colin Jose Media Award 6
  • MLS Hall of Fame Game 7
  • See also 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10


The Hall of Fame was founded in 1950 by the Philadelphia "Old-timers" Association, a group of former professional and amateur soccer players that wanted to recognize the achievements of soccer in America.[7]


Former National Soccer Hall of Fame Museum in Oneonta, New York
Giant ball going out of the Former National Soccer Hall of Fame Museum

The Hall of Fame museum opened on June 12, 1999 and hosted Hillary Rodham Clinton during the same year. The museum featured the hall of fame, a library, and an interactive soccer play area.

The United States National Soccer Team Players Association partnered with the Hall of Fame to create the Time In program, which honored people with a connection to soccer battling Leukemia. Since the disease disproportionately targets children a majority of the honorees were youth soccer players.[8]

Prior to the 2005 induction of the "Magnificent Five" individuals from the early and mid 20th century had been largely ignored. This change was brought about by the acquisition of a large volume of historical records relating to this period. These records combined with previously developed eligibility criteria led to the induction of Tommy Fleming, Alex McNab, Johnny Nelson, Werner Nilsen and Fabri Salcedo. The notable careers of these five players all took place prior to 1950. The "Magnificent Five" were inducted post-humously into the Hall of Fame in August 2005.[9]

Sports Illustrated reported on September 4, 2009 that the Hall announced it would be closing to the public. It was open only on certain match days. As a result of financial difficulties the Hall of Fame cut six of its nine employees during that same month.[2] The director of the Hall of Fame for almost 10 years, Jack Huckel, left his position on December 18, 2009.[1] On February 10, 2010, it was announced that the Hall would close its facility, though inductions will continue.[10][11]

In September 2015, it was announced that a new Hall of Fame museum would be built at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas, the home of Major League Soccer club FC Dallas.[12]


After the museum was closed, a collection of more than 80,000 items was distributed to various locations across the country, including the headquarters of Eurosport, a long-term corporate sponsor, in Hillsborough, North Carolina. The collection includes the following notable items:[7][13]


Eligible individuals may be inducted into one of three categories: Player, Builder and Veteran (player). New individuals are inducted on an annual basis.


To be eligible in the Player category, an individual must have met number 1, and either number 2 or number 3, of the following three criteria:

  1. Retired as a player for at least three years, but for no more than 10 years
  2. Played at least 20 full international games for the United States. This requirement is reduced to 10 games if the games were prior to 1990.
  3. Played at least five seasons in an American first-division professional league (currently MLS or NWSL), and won either the league championship, or the U.S. Open Cup, or was selected as a league all-star at least once.


Players who have met either no. 2 or no. 3 but who retired more than 10 years ago are automatically placed on the veteran eligibility list.


To be eligible in this category, an individual must have made his or her mark in soccer in a non-playing capacity and have had a major, sustained and positive impact on soccer in the United States at a national or first division professional level. Due to the broad, general nature of the criteria, nominations for this category may be considered. Nominations are screened by the Hall of Fame Historian and Researcher who submit their recommendations to the Hall as to the appropriateness of the nominee's inclusion on the eligibility list.

Medal of Honor

The National Soccer Hall of Fame's Medal of Honor is the highest honor given to people who have grown the sport of soccer in the United States.[14] The Medal is awarded to individuals who has "demonstrated vision and played an historic role in changing the course of soccer in America."[15] The Medal has been given out only four times in history.

Number Awarded Name Achievements
1 1998 Alan Rothenberg Director of the 1994 World Cup;[16]
President of U.S. Soccer (1990–98);
Oversaw the establishment of MLS.
2 1999 Lamar Hunt Co-founder of the NASL (1967–84);
Owner of 3 MLS teams during the early 2000s;[17]
Built the first soccer-specific stadium.[17]
3 2001 1991 Women's national team Won the inaugural Women's World Cup.
4 2006 Phil Anschutz The most influential person in growing soccer in the US;[14]
Owned 6 of 10 MLS teams during the early 2000s;[14]
Pushed MLS's development of soccer-specific stadiums.[14]

Annual ballots

2009 ballot

In 2009, the Hall of fame inducted Jeff Agoos and Joy Fawcett into the Hall of Fame in the player category.

2010 ballot

In 2010, Thomas Dooley and Preki Radosavljević were inducted in the player category, Kyle Rote, Jr. in the Veteran category and Bruce Arena in the Builder category.

2011 ballot

On February 17, 2011, the Hall of Fame announced the candidates eligible for induction into the Hall of Fame in 2011. This list included individuals for all three categories, Player, Veteran and Builder. On March 29, 2011, the Hall of Fame announced that Cobi Jones, Eddie Pope and Earnie Stewart had been elected for induction into the Hall of Fame in the 2011 Player category. Bruce Murray was selected in the Veteran category, and Bob Gansler was elected in the Builder category.[18]

2012 ballot

On January 31, 2012 the United States Soccer Federation announced that the ballots were finalized for the Class of 2012. Voting began on the day of the announcement and will continue until February 17. Twelve players were added to the ballot after qualifying for the first time. They included Tony Meola, Claudio Reyna, Jose Burciaga Jr., Ronald Cerritos, Lorrie Fair, Jen Lalor-Nielsen, Ronnie O'Brien, Ante Razov, David Regis, Thori Staples Bryan, Greg Vanney and Kerry Zavagnin. Of the remaining nine players in the pool, Mike Burns, Peter Nowak, Carlos Valderrama and Peter Vermes are in their final year of eligibility.[19]

On February 29, 2012 the USSF announced the induction of Tony Meola, Claudio Reyna, Tony DiCicco, and Desmond Armstrong into the Hall of Fame. Reyna and Meola greatly exceeded the two-thirds threshold required to enter the Hall, receiving 96.08% and 90.20% of the vote respectively.[20]

2013 ballot

On October 11, 2013 the USSF inducted two former U.S. international and MLS stars into the Hall of Fame. Forward Joe-Max Moore and the versatile Peter Vermes were the only players inducted in 2013.




Colin Jose Media Award

  • 2004 Jerry Trecker
  • 2005 Seamus Malin
  • 2007 George Tiedemann
  • 2008 Ike Kuhns
  • 2009 Alex Yannis
  • 2010 Paul Gardner

MLS Hall of Fame Game

The MLS Hall of Fame Game was an annual friendly match between two MLS teams. It corresponded with the induction of the National Soccer Hall of Fame. The game took place at At-A-Glance Field in Oneonta, NY.

Date Winning Team Score Losing Team Score
October 11, 2004 MetroStars 2 Chicago Fire 0
August 29, 2005 D.C. United 6 Colorado Rapids 2
September 6, 2006 [22] New York Red Bulls vs. Columbus Crew ***

See also


  1. ^ a b "Soccer Hall museum director leaves position". Utica Observer Dispatch. 18 December 2009. Retrieved 15 March 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Shane Evans (4 September 2009). "National Soccer Hall of Fame to close". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 15 March 2011. 
  3. ^ "Red Bulls' Jeff Agoos gets inducted into National Soccer Hall of Fame". Daily News. 
  5. ^ "2010 Hall of Fame Induction Quote Sheet". 
  6. ^ "Rutgers Standout Lalas Elected to National Soccer Hall of Fame". 
  7. ^ a b "Hall History". United States Soccer Federation. Retrieved 15 March 2011. 
  8. ^ "Thursday's Daily: The Hall Without An Address". US Soccer Players. 11 February 2010. Retrieved 15 March 2011. 
  9. ^ "US Soccer Hall of Fame inducts five top veterans of the early 20th century". The American Soccer History Archives. Dave Litterer. 11 July 2005. Retrieved 16 March 2011. 
  10. ^ Fran Perritano (10 February 2010). "Soccer Hall of Fame closes". Utica Observer Dispatch. Retrieved 15 March 2011. 
  11. ^ "National Soccer Hall of Fame to Change Operating Model, Relocate Exhibits and Archives". National Soccer Foundation. 10 February 2010. Retrieved 15 March 2011. 
  12. ^ staff (30 September 2015). "US Soccer, FC Dallas announce new National Soccer Hall of Fame to be built at Toyota Stadium". Retrieved 8 October 2015. 
  13. ^ L.E. Eisenmenger (2 February 2010). "National Soccer Hall Of Fame Looks Ahead". Retrieved 15 March 2011. 
  14. ^ a b c d Sports Business Journal, Soccer’s visionary: Phil Anschutz, June 5, 2006,
  15. ^ Lamar Hunt Receives National Soccer Hall of Fame Medal of Honor, May 15, 1999,!topic/
  16. ^ Sports Illustrated, From obscurity to respect, August 20, 1998,
  17. ^ a b ESPN FC, Hunt a quiet pioneer of U.S. soccer, Dec. 13, 2006,
  18. ^ "Cobi Jones, Eddie Pope, and Earnie Stewart Elected to National Soccer Hall of Fame Class of 2011".  
  19. ^ "National Soccer Hall of Fame Class of 2012 Ballots Finalized".  
  20. ^ "Reyna, Meola Elected to National Soccer Hall of Fame Class of 2012". United States Soccer Federation. 29 February 2012. 
  21. ^ a b
  22. ^ Game was cancelled due to injuries on both team.

External links

  • A guide and brief history of the Hall of Fame
  • Hall of Fame. U.S. Soccer official website
  • US (National) Soccer Hall of Fame Membership (complete list). U.S. Soccer History Archives
  • American (U.S.) Soccer History Archives
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