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World Cup by the Numbers: Tim Howard’s World Cup Performance in Modern Era

As long as he maintains a clean bill of health and is available as a starting selection for head coach Jurgen Klinsmann for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, goalkeeper Tim Howard could set some new U.S. Men’s National Team standards at next year’s tournament.

Howard is looking forward to a third World Cup opportunity following his four-game performance at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. He served as Kasey Keller’s backup in the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany and did not see game action.

In the previous six World Cups starting with the 1990 tournament, four USA goalkeepers have played in 22 World Cup matches during the modern era: Tony Meola (1990 and 1994), Keller (1998 and 2006), Brad Friedel (1998 and 2002) and Howard (2010).

Among this group, Howard currently holds the best winning percentage (.500) after going 1-1-2 in South Africa. He held a 1.15 goals against average, which is also tops among the modern era goalkeepers.

Here is where Howard stands among the other three goalkeepers in the following World Cup categories:

Games played/started:

  • 1. Tony Meola 7/7
  • 2. Brad Friedel 6/6
  • 3. Kasey Keller 5/5
  • 4. Tim Howard 4/4


Wins:

  • 1. Brad Friedel 2
  • 2. (tie) Tim Howard and Tony Meola 1
  • 4. Kasey Keller 0

Shutouts:

  • 1. (tie) Brad Friedel and Tim Howard 1
  • 3. (tie) Kasey Keller and Tony Meola 0

Goals against average:

  • 1. Tim Howard (1.15, 5 GA in 390 min.)
  • 2. Brad Friedel (1.33, 8 GA in 540 min.)
  • 3. Tony Meola (1.71, 12 GA in 630 min.)
  • 4. Kasey Keller (2.00, 10 GA in 450 min.)

Winning percentage:

  • 1. Tim Howard (.500, 1-1-2)
  • 2. Brad Friedel (.417, 2-3-1)
  • 3. Tony Meola (.214, 1-5-1)
  • 4. Kasey Keller (.100, 0-4-1)

Looking Back at the 1994 FIFA World Cup Draw

How appropriate that the 1994 FIFA World Cup Draw was held in Las Vegas – the gambling, glitz, glamour and betting capital of the world.

One of the more promising side stories was the press conference two days before the draw that introduced the formation of a new, 12-team professional league – Major League Soccer, the first national professional first division in the United States since the original North American Soccer League went out of business after the 1984 season.

“We believe the time has never been more right for a professional league to succeed,” former U.S. Soccer president Alan Rothenberg said. “The level of participation in soccer in this country has been growing by leaps and bounds. We have proved in organizing the World Cup that we can convert participants into spectators. I have no doubt a league like this will be successful.”

The new league also got the approval of FIFA, which had been urging U.S. Soccer to form a league since it awarded the World Cup to the USA in 1988.

“FIFA was very pleased to receive the excellent report from Major League Soccer,” current FIFA president Sepp Blatter said. “We are optimistic about the future of soccer in the United States.”

After singer James Brown provided the musical entertainment, the proceedings began.

Comedian Robin Williams did his best singlehandedly – literally – to liven up the event. He put a white surgical glove on his right hand before he picked a ball out of a bowl.

Williams commented on the huge, colorful electronic board that listed the six groups and the 24 teams. “Look! The world’s largest Keno board,” he said.

Through a taped message, President Clinton welcomed the world and an international TV audience estimated at 500 million. Then an array of celebrities and athletes – actor Jeff Bridges, women’s soccer legend Michelle Akers, actress/model Carol Alt, pop artist Peter Max, race car driver Mario Andretti and Olympic gold medalist Mary Lou Retton helped put the World Cup schedule together.

By the time the dust settled, the U.S was scheduled to play Switzerland on June 18 at the Pontiac Silverdome in the first World Cup match to be held indoors; Colombia, considered to be one of the best teams on the planet at the time, at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., on June 22; and Romania in the same venue on June 26.

“Colombia has beaten the United States twice, 1-0 and 2-1,” said then-U.S. head coach Bora Milutinovic. “It’s time for the United States to beat Colombia.”

Added team captain and goalkeeper Tony Meola at the time: “I’ll be very disappointed if we don’t move on. We’ll have to fight, but we would have to fight in any group.”

But the U.S. Soccer officials were more than a little concerned. Colombia at the time was considered one of the best teams in the world. Up to then, no host team had failed to reach the second round.

“A draw’s a draw,” said longtime U.S. Soccer Secretary General Hank Steinbrecher. “At any rate, Blatter says that the draw really doesn’t matter and you’ve got to play the best teams anyway. We predicted we would lose to Colombia, tie Switzerland and beat Romania. That was the thinking at the time. What happens? We beat Colombia, lose to Romania and tie Switzerland. So the lesson I learned from that? Blatter may be right. The draw really doesn’t matter. What matters is what’s going to happen on the field.”

- Michael Lewis

National Soccer Hall of Fame Induction 2012 Presented by Eurosport to be Held May 30 in Landover, Md.

Claudio Reyna, Tony Meola, Desmond Armstrong and Tony DiCicco will be Inducted
as the Class of 2012 Ahead of Men’s National Team Match Against Brazil

CHICAGO (April 17, 2012) – Former U.S. Men’s National Team stars Claudio Reyna, Tony Meola and Desmond Armstrong and former U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Tony DiCicco will be inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame on May 30 in Landover, Md.

The National Soccer Hall of Fame and U.S. Soccer will hold Induction 2012 presented by Eurosport at FedExField ahead of the U.S. Men’s National Team game against Brazil. The exact start of the Induction will be determined in the near future. Following the invite-only ceremony, new inductees, Hall of Fame members and invited guests will attend a reception. Current Hall of Famers, as well as the Class of 2012 inductees, will be recognized on the field before kickoff.

Both men elected on the player ballot made a significant contribution to the Men’s National Team and had successful club careers both overseas and in the USA. Reyna, a four-time World Cup veteran, had an impressive career in Europe, playing for Bayer Leverkusen, Wolfsburg, Rangers, Sunderland and Manchester City. Meola holds second place all-time for most U.S. goalkeeper appearances and was a mainstay in Major League Soccer, earning MVP and Goalkeeper of the Year awards with the Kansas City Wizards.

Armstrong, elected on the veteran ballot, was a stellar defender for the U.S. Men. During an eight-year National Team career, he competed in the 1990 World Cup and the 1988 Olympic Games.

DiCicco was elected on the builder ballot and was recognized for his record-breaking tenure with the Women’s National Team, posting 103 victories in 119 matches and leading the squad to the FIFA Women’s World Cup title at home in 1999.

The U.S. MNT will kick off against five-time World Cup winner Brazil at 8 p.m. ET. More than 40,000 tickets have been sold for the match, which will be broadcast live on ESPN2, ESPN3 and Univision. The match will be the team’s last friendly in the U.S. before it begins 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying.

Established in 1950, the National Soccer Hall of Fame is dedicated to the sport of soccer in the United States by celebrating its history, preserving its legacy, inspiring its youth and honoring its heroes for generations to come.

Reyna, Meola Elected to National Soccer Hall of Fame Class of 2012

CHICAGO (Feb. 29, 2012) – Former U.S. Men’s National Team captain Claudio Reyna and three-time FIFA World Cup veteran goalkeeper Tony Meola have been elected to the National Soccer Hall of Fame Class of 2012 on the Player ballot.

Joining the players in this year’s class are Desmond Armstrong on the Veteran ballot and Tony DiCicco on the Builder ballot.

Reyna, eligible on the Player ballot for the first time, was named on 96 percent of the ballots. Meola, also a first-time eligible Player inductee, was named to 90 percent of the ballots. Armstrong was cast on nearly 54 percent of the Veteran ballots and DiCicco was named on 61 percent of the Builder ballots.

The Class of 2012 induction ceremony will likely be scheduled for this summer and details will be announced at a later date.

Reyna, who currently serves as U.S. Soccer’s Youth Technical Director, played for the U.S. National Team for 13 straight years from 1994-2006 and was a member of four FIFA World Cup teams. He earned 112 caps while scoring eight goals and recording 19 career assists. Reyna also had a 13-year career in Europe, playing for Premier League sides Manchester City and Sunderland and the Scottish Premier League’s Glasgow Rangers.

“It’s an incredible honor to be inducted into the Hall of Fame,” said Reyna. “Soccer has been my life from the moment I could walk. You don’t think or play for these type of recognitions but it is a tremendous honor and I want to thank my former teammates, former coaches and everybody else close to me, especially my family, who supported me – from those who drove me all over as a youth player to my wife and children who have been here my whole career. From a player’s standpoint, it kind of caps things off for me, so it’s definitely an honor and something that I’m proud of.”

Meola was a member of three U.S. World Cup squads, serving as the team’s No. 1 goalkeeper for the 1990 and 1994 FIFA World Cups and then as a reserve in 2002. In 12 years, between 1988 and 2006, Meola earned 100 caps and 32 shutouts (second all-time behind Kasey Keller), while recording 37 victories. Meola was one of the top goalkeepers in Major League Soccer, highlighted by his 2000 campaign with the Kansas City Wizards that included an MLS Cup, MLS MVP, MLS Goalkeeper of the Year and MLS Cup MVP accolades.

“It’s certainly the greatest honor you can have in your chosen profession, to be mentioned in the same breath as the great people that were before you and one day the great ones that will come after you,” Meola said. “I’m certainly humbled and I’m honored, and I’m thrilled to think that somebody actually thought I was worthy of it.”

Armstrong garnered 81 caps in 73 starts in his eight years with the National Team from 1987-1994. His 2,128 minutes in 1993 rank second all-time for one year behind only fellow 1993 defenseman Mike Lapper (2,205). He played in all three matches during the USA’s trip to the 1990 FIFA World Cup.

DiCicco set an unprecedented standard, posting a Women’s National Team-record 103 victories in 119 matches during his head coaching tenure from 1994-1999. DiCicco memorably led his squad to the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup championship against China on July 10 in front of a sellout crowd of 90,185 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.

For all the eligibility and election criteria for the Player, Veteran and Builder ballots, please visit ussoccer.com.

2012 Player Ballot Results
Claudio Reyna            96.08 %
Tony Meola                 90.20
Marco Etcheverry        58.82
Joe-Max Moore           57.84
Shannon MacMillan     49.02
Carlos Valderrama      43.14
Cindy Parlow              36.27
Peter Vermes              35.29
Chris Armas               34.31
Jason Kreis                 30.39
* Only includes top 10 in votes received

2012 Veteran Ballot Results
Desmond Armstrong   53.66 %
Teofilo Cubillas           51.22
John Doyle                 51.22
Glenn Myernick           48.78
Linda Hamilton            43.90
Shep Messing              39.02
Mike Sorber                39.02
George Best                31.71
Brian Quinn                26.83
Bill McPherson            14.63
Steve Trittschuh          14.63

2012 Builder Ballot Results
Tony DiCicco               61.22 %
Francisco Marcos         48.98
Chuck Blazer               44.90
Bob Bradley                 40.82
Don Garber                 40.82
Sigi Schmid                 38.78
Fritz Marth                   20.41
Dr. Robert Contiguglia 16.33

Class of 2012 National Soccer Hall of Fame Q & A

CHICAGO (Feb. 29, 2012) – The National Soccer Hall of Fame announced its Class of 2012 on Wednesday, featuring former U.S. Men’s National Team captain Claudio Reyna and three-time FIFA World Cup veteran goalkeeper Tony Meola on the Player ballot, former National Team defender Desmond Armstrong on the Veteran ballot and former U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Tony DiCicco on the Builder ballot.

ussoccer.com caught up with all four inductees to talk about the honor and reminisce on their past accomplishments and U.S. soccer paths:

National Soccer Hall of Fame Player Inductee CLAUDIO REYNA
On being inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame:
“It’s an incredible honor to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Soccer has been my life from the moment I could walk. You don’t think or play for these types of recognitions, but it is a tremendous honor and I want to thank my former teammates, former coaches and everybody else close to me, especially my family, who supported me – from those who drove me all over as a youth player to my wife and children who have been here my whole career. From a player’s standpoint, it kind of caps things off for me, so it’s definitely an honor and something that I’m proud of.”

On entering the Hall of Fame, the likes of which include many of his former teammates and coaches:
“As the years go on we’re continuing to develop so many good players who have had long careers with the National Team and with their club teams. It’s great to see. I had the honor last year of presenting Earnie Stewart, who is a very good friend of mine. Tony Meola and Desmond Armstrong were very good players on the National Team when I first started my career in the beginning. To see them get in is nice. I imagine there will be many more former and current National Team players who will receive the same honor.”

On the development of the sport over the course of his career:
“For me at this stage, I’m 38 years old and I can think back over the years where this sport was when I first started off. The growth of the professional league, our National Team and the interest in the sport has been incredible. Whatever part I played in that, it’s nice that I was in this cycle that was able to help the sport develop, along with the other players, coaches and people who have invested in the sport throughout the years. It shows that we as a country are now taking the sport more and more seriously.”

On the continued growth of the National Team:
“I think even the guys on the National Team now will look back in 15 to 20 years and say the same thing that I have: They won’t believe how far the sport has grown from their time. It’s hard to realize that when you’re in the present and playing. I thought when I was in the 1994 World Cup that it couldn’t get any bigger or better, but it has in so many different ways. Now I’m sort of on the other side of it, looking to develop our future players and future coaches and help them get better. I’m trying to pass on all the experience I’ve had within the U.S. and of course playing in Europe for so many years so we can close the gap with the best teams in the world.”

National Soccer Hall of Fame Player Inductee TONY MEOLA
On the honor of being inducted into the Hall of Fame:
“It’s certainly the greatest honor you can have in your chosen profession, to be mentioned in the same breath as the great people that were before you and one day the great ones that will come after you. I’m certainly humbled and I’m honored, and I’m thrilled to think that somebody actually thought I was worthy of it. That makes it more special, that people who are obviously knowledgeable about the game, that have followed the game and spent their entire life in the game like I have who voted for me. I can only say thank you to them for the opportunity to be part of the group.”

On his experiences with the U.S. Men’s National Team:
“I was fortunate to have played 100 games with the National Team. I could write a complete book just on my experiences there. I guess I didn’t realize until later on in my career what those early days meant for the sport of soccer, how important they were in our development, how important they were in generating interest in the U.S. National Team and in soccer, and in general in this country. But when you’re playing, that’s not necessarily something you’re thinking about. You don’t think about being in this position 20 years down the road. You’re just thinking about playing and being the best you could be and helping your team, and that’s the way I looked at it. This is a reward, I suppose, for doing that in a way people thought was the way it should be done.”

On being part of three World Cups:
“To be part of three World Cups is a dream come true, and then for me I think that the neatest thing – given my heritage and my background – about the World Cups was that I always said if I had to pick two countries to play a World Cup in when I was a kid, the two I would have picked would have been Italy and the United States. Somehow that all worked out, and for me, that’s one of the most amazing parts of my career, that it worked out that way. I couldn’t have drawn it any better, really. If I had to pick the most memorable game in a World Cup, it was for sure the game against Colombia in Pasadena, where U.S. Soccer and the U.S. National Team was finally thought of, after that game, as a group that could compete all the time. I’m proud to have been part of that team, part of that group of guys, who were so willing to and so determined to make an impact not only in U.S. Soccer, but around the world. That was sort of one of the goals of that group and I’m happy to have been a part of that.”

On the challenge of being a U.S. MNT goalkeeper:
“For goalkeepers, there’s only one spot to be occupied and for so many years, I was able to be part of that and had some colleagues that were there with me in Brad Friedel, Kasey Keller and down the road a little bit, Tim Howard. These are guys that not only helped our National Team get better, but I think we all made each other better at the end of the day. For me, that’s pretty impressive company. I’m honored to be part of that group and to have played a part in the development of U.S. goalkeepers, and I think it’s something that I hope we can recapture and have that many and that kind of group of guys competing for the same position for a long time.”

On the development of soccer in the United States over the years:
“I’m not sure a lot has changed from a soccer standpoint. I still look at the ’94 team and what we did, and I look at the group I was with in 2002 and what we did. The U.S. team’s always going to be able to compete. Everyone talks about winning the World Cup. Well, there aren’t a lot of countries that can say they’ve won the World Cup. I think a lot of things have to go your way. You’ve got to get some luck along the way. There are great players now, for sure. There were great players then, and in some regard, the players back then had a much more difficult road. There were some players prior to me coming on who had no place to play, they were looking for places to train in order to stay fit and to stay sharp and then had to go and compete at the international level. The players are at a little bit of an advantage now and we as MLS players and guys that played overseas had a little bit of an edge because we had a place to work on our trade every day. But there’s no question there were great players then and there’s great players now. I think the pool of great players has gotten bigger now. If you’re a National Team coach, you have a lot more guys to choose from than you did in the past and that’s just the development of our sport in general, and now we have different avenues for guys to play in.

“I love the direction the game has gone, I love the development of young players and being able to go overseas and play in the biggest leagues in the world and make money and enjoy success. Every time I read about that, I think about our group that kept the ball rolling in the sport, and now these guys are making the ball roll a little bit faster. Twenty years from now, hopefully guys will talk about them and talk about how they helped further their career because of the guys before them. It was a responsibility that I took seriously. It’s one of the reasons I decided to come back to the United States and play here instead of stay overseas is because I took the role of developing the sport seriously, and it meant a lot to me.”

National Soccer Hall of Fame Veteran Inductee DESMOND ARMSTRONG
On honor of being inducted into the Hall of Fame:
“It means for me that I’m part of the representation of a generation that has not been forgotten, just somewhat overlooked. We were the group that helped to start this run of soccer success in America, so it’s a great honor to be recognized for that.”

On joining the Hall of Fame with Tony Meola, Claudio Reyna and Tony DiCicco:
“Specifically for Tony Meola and Claudio, they represent the start of this run for the USA qualifying for the World Cup ever since 1990 and also the continuation of the success of American players in Europe - Claudio in particular. He was the impetus for the next generation of American players to be successful in Europe and then come back and give back to the American game. To be in that class is a tremendous honor. For Tony DiCicco, to be in the class with him, he’s a representation of the Women’s game for the 1991 Women’s World Cup (then known as the Women’s World Championship, when DiCicco was assistant coach), that group of women speaks of pioneers, which I believe I’m a part of that generation. We were pioneers, both on the Men’s and Women’s sides. And of course for the Women, Tony represents the greatest success for soccer in America.”

On his most memorable moment on the U.S. Men’s National Team:
“I think the Olympics for me, the ’88 Olympics, was the highlight of my career. I was at the peak of my performance as a player, I believe. This was before I broke my leg – I broke my leg directly after the Olympics and was able to make it back to the 1990 World Cup, which was momentous, as well. I just feel as though that ’88 Olympic team – and again that generation of players, which included John Harkes, Tab Ramos, Christopher Sullivan, Peter Vermes, Frankie Klopas, John Doyle, Steve Trittschuh and the like. I think that generation was the generation that really pushed us forward and brought us toward 1990 and the qualification of the World Cup in 1990. I think that was my greatest moment, which is back in the black and white days of television. That was a great experience, the most momentous for me. And then as we move forward all the way up into ’94, to be a part of the generation that brought the World Cup to the United States for the first time and only time at this point.”

On the development and increasing popularity of soccer during his career:
“I think for us, leading up to 1994, we started to get growing coverage. When I came up through college – I was in college from ’82-86 – NASL was still around but it went under in ’84, two years into my college ranks. So from ’84 to really 1990, there was sporadic coverage of soccer on a national scale. It was difficult to see games, there was no real support for us no matter where we played outside of St. Louis, which was at that time the hub for the U.S. National Team, right in the center of the country, so to speak. Whenever we played out in California, it was sort of like playing away from home because we typically played a Hispanic team, if not Mexico. The support for them was more than it was for us, the Americans. From that to the progressive stages of ’94, when people started to get wind of what the World Cup really was because it was here on our ground and then pushing forward to 2002, which is Claudio’s team, he was tremendous in that World Cup. I think that generation really identified to the world that we had progressed, that we had moved forward. We had more Americans playing in Europe at that time that came back and played in the World Cup and then pushing forward from there, the coverage that we’ve gotten even to 2010, the most recent World Cup, where they showed on television every World Cup game as opposed to just the American games. It has grown exponentially from the time that I played, which is almost ancient history.”

On the increasing growth of soccer in America:
“I think we’ve turned a corner. With the presence in MLS, I think we’ve turned a corner in regard to 1) the exposure, but also 2) the product that we’re putting on the field, which then feeds into the National Team, where the National Team is not the only product that we’re marketing to the general sports community. We’re marketing MLS, or professional soccer, as well as the exposure of other professional leagues around the world that we have access to. Whereas 10 years ago, we didn’t have that type of access of seeing top matches around the world and thus be able to compare our own professional league to those other top levels. I think that now we have a growing generation of soccer enthusiasts because guys like myself, in terms of my age range, we have kids that came up playing soccer. That resonates within one’s household, and thus we have many, many more soccer enthusiasts because we had many more soccer participants that now translated into being able to view that product that is out there through MLS. It’s sure to continue to grow as a major sport in the country.”

National Soccer Hall of Fame Builder Inductee TONY DICICCO
On the exclusive honor of being inducted as a Builder:
“Unfortunately or fortunately, there isn’t a coach category so I wasn’t sure I was ever going to get voted in because there are great builders and a great list of builders in this year’s group of candidates. I’m delighted that I was recognized not only as a coach, but as somebody who has helped build the sport here in the United States. It means a lot to me because, if you look at the list, when I joined, there were incredible builders in that list and to have only one person each year be inducted is an incredible honor for me and my family and my teams.”

On his time as Women’s National Team head coach from 1994-2000, when he won 103 of 119 games:
“It was a unique group because of how they worked together, how they invited in talented new players that were potentially going to take their position and then how they raised their game so that those young, talented players did not take their position. I think that’s why that group of players played as long as they did. But they also had a much bigger sense of responsibility off the field and they continue to do that as spokeswomen for the game, when you look at players like Mia Hamm, Julie Foudy, Kristine Lilly, Michelle Akers and Carla Overbeck, and the whole group of them. The truth is I never had a disciplinary issue in the five years that I coached the team. Having coached three years in WPS (Women’s Professional Soccer), and I coached the U-20 Women in 2008 and teams before and after that, that is incredibly unique. It was a team that had one common goal and our motto was ‘Win Forever.’ They showed that and they did it with class. They did it with the way Americans love the sport to be played – any sport to be played – with hard work and flair and exciting play and a find-a-way-to-win type of mentality. From that team, this tradition that our U.S. Women still have emerged. I think the last international game they played (against New Zealand on Feb. 11) they scored two late goals and won. I think that tradition of finding ways to win, and of course we saw that last summer in the World Cup, and coming back at the death in games is something that began with our Women’s National Team in the ’90s and continues today.”

On the 1999 Women’s World Cup win and 1996 Olympic gold medal:
“In both of those situations, we were in residency, so I always looked at it as the journey in residency, building the team and fine-tuning the team and finding the special players that are going to make us better. The nucleus was pretty much in place, but finding those one or two players that were going to help us win. That journey was incredible. It was an everyday thing, we got together and it was wonderful. The other part of it was the event – the event has kind of a life of its own. In the Olympics in ’96, it was incredibly rewarding because we played fantastic soccer.”

On his role in increasing the popularity of women’s soccer in the country:
“My role was to not get in the way of the players. We had great players with great motivation. [Former head coach] Anson Dorrance had set the tone on the mentality of the U.S. Women. I tried to get us to play a little bit differently, different systems, and show some variety. I converted Brandi Chastain, one of the great forwards, into an outside back and Joy Fawcett into an outside back. They became the two best attacking outside defenders in the world for five years and beyond. Even after my time, they were incredible players for the USA. I think I gave us a little bit more sophistication in play, I found some players like Christie Rampone, who now I’m amazed at how good she’s become over the years. I think my biggest contribution was to stay out of the way and let these players have the freedom to do what they do so well on the field, just give them a structure and let them do what they’ve prepared to do for a lifetime. My job was to create the structure for them to play their best and display their signature abilities, and what I tried to do was just piece the puzzle together so that one player’s special skills complimented another player’s special skills and so forth throughout the team.”

National Soccer Hall of Fame Class of 2012 Ballots Finalized

CHICAGO (Jan. 31, 2012) – Ballots have been finalized for the National Soccer Hall of Fame Class of 2012, and voting will begin immediately for the Player, Veteran Player and Builder categories. Voting will continue through Feb. 17, and the election results will be announced shortly after.

Two-time World Cup starting goalkeeper Tony Meola and former U.S. Men’s National Team captain Claudio Reyna are among 12 players in their first year of eligibility for the Player ballot. 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 also are on the ballot for the first time.

Of the 31 total players on the Player ballot, Mike Burns, Peter Nowak, Carlos Valderrama and Peter Vermes are in their final year of eligibility.

In order to be eligible for election as a Player, an individual must be retired as a player for between three and 10 calendar years and have either: 1) Played in at least 20 international games for the U.S., or 2) Played at least five seasons in an American first division professional league and be named to a postseason all-league or all-star team at least once.

The voting pool includes all Hall of Famers, select soccer administrators and designated media members. Each voter can list up to 10 candidates per ballot. Any player appearing on at least 66.7 percent of ballots will earn election, while any player who does not appear on at least five percent of ballots will be dropped from the Player ballot.

2012 National Soccer Hall of Fame Player Ballot

Chris Armas
Jose Burciaga Jr. *
Mike Burns ^
Ronald Cerritos *
Mauricio Cienfuegos
Raul Diaz Arce
Marco Etcheverry
Lorrie Fair *
Robin Fraser
Chris Henderson
Jason Kreis
Jen Lalor-Nielsen *
Roy Lassiter
Shannon MacMillan
Tony Meola *
Joe-Max Moore
Victor Nogueira
Peter Nowak ^
John O’Brien
Ronnie O’Brien *
Cindy Parlow
Ante Razov *
David Regis *
Claudio Reyna *
Tiffany Roberts
Thori Staples Bryan *
Carlos Valderrama ^
Greg Vanney *
Tisha Venturini-Hoch
Peter Vermes ^
Kerry Zavagnin *
* First year of eligibility
^ Final year of eligibility; moves to Veteran ballot in 2013


In addition to the Player ballot, voting is also underway in the Veteran Player and Builder categories. Eleven players are up for selection on the Veteran ballot, which is voted on only by current Hall of Famers after the list has been narrowed down by a screening committee. Voters can name up to five candidates, and the top vote-getter will be elected as long as he or she appears on a minimum of 50 percent of the ballots. If no Veteran appears on 50 percent of the ballots, then no one will be elected on this ballot in 2012. More than one candidate may be elected in the event of a tie.

Eligibility for the Veteran ballot is the same as the Player ballot except that a player must be retired for more than 10 years. Further, the U.S. National Team cap requirement is lowered from 20 to 10 if the 10 caps came before 1990.

2012 National Soccer Hall of Fame Veteran Ballot
Desmond Armstrong
George Best
Teofilo Cubillas
John Doyle
Linda Hamilton
Bill McPherson
Shep Messing
Glenn Myernick
Brian Quinn
Mike Sorber
Steve Trittschuh

The 2012 Builder ballot includes eight individuals selected by a screening committee and follows the same procedures for election as the Veteran ballot, although the voting pool is expanded to also include select soccer administrators.

Builders are nominated by making their mark in the soccer community in a non-playing capacity while sustaining a major and positive impact on U.S. Soccer on a national or professional level for 10 years. Referees must serve as a FIFA referee for at least seven years to be eligible.

2012 National Soccer Hall of Fame Builder Ballot
Chuck Blazer
Bob Bradley
Bob Contiguglia
Tony DiCicco
Don Garber
Francisco Marcos
Fritz Marth
Sigi Schmid

Complete information about the election and eligibility procedures is available online at ussoccer.com.

The National Soccer Hall of Fame closed its Oneonta, N.Y., facility in 2010. The election process is being administered by U.S. Soccer Federation 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.

One of the most successful and recognizable figures to don red, white and blue, U.S. goalkeeper Tony Meola had a storied career that spanned three decades, three FIFA World Cups and immense achievement for both the U.S. National Team and Major League Soccer.

Meola’s 32 shutouts and 100 international caps both rank second all-time among U.S. goalkeepers through his 12 years representing the USA from 1988-2006. The Kearny, N.J., native broke onto the scene in 1989 and had immediate success on the U.S. National Team, posting a 4-0-2 record in his first six starts.

The USA’s starting goalkeeper in the 1990 and 1994 FIFA World Cups, Meola served as the captain of the team in 1994. A member of the 2002 World Cup roster, he’s one of only a handful of U.S. players to be part of three World Cups.

One of the top MLS goalkeepers, Meola’s league career was highlighted by a 2000 campaign with the Kansas City Wizards where he posted a league-record 16 shutouts, was named MLS MVP, MLS Goalkeeper of the Year and MLS Cup MVP as Kansas City defeated the Chicago Fire for the championship.

Meola was a two-time, first-team All-American at the University of Virginia, winning the Hermann Trophy following his freshman season and the MAC Award after his sophomore season.

Outside of the soccer realm, Major League Baseball’s New York Yankees drafted Meola out of high school and he lettered in baseball at Virginia. He also briefly played in the NFL, spending 11 weeks on the New York Jets roster as a placekicker.

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