The U.S. MNT returns to one of the country’s soccer hot beds when it opens 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying against either St. Vincent and the Grenadines or Aruba on Nov. 13 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri.
The match marks the MNT’s first game in the United States’ historic soccer capital in nearly 20 years, with the side last paying to a 0-0 draw against Paraguay at Busch Conference & Sports Center (now St. Louis Soccer Park) on June 4, 1997.
What made St. Louis such a bastion for soccer in the United States?
Clubs from the city made an early mark on the U.S. Open Cup (then known as the National Challenge Cup), with Ben Millers first lifting the Dewar Trophy in 1920. Scullin Steel followed up two years later before Stix, Baer and Fuller (later known as St. Louis Central Breweries) went to four straight finals from 1932-1935, winning all but the first.
Much of St. Louis’ continuing soccer strength came from the city’s representation on the U.S. team that went to the 1950 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. Five of the 11 players that appeared in the USA’s historic 1-0 victory against England hailed from St. Louis: goalkeeper Frank Borghi, defenders Charlie Colombo and Harry Keough and midfielders Gino Pariani and Frank Wallace.
In 1948, Borghi, Colombo and Pariani all won National Challenge Cup titles with Simpkins Ford, while Wallace joined them to win the title in 1950. Keough would taste domestic cup glory of his own, winning with St. Louis Kutis in 1957.
Upon retirement as a player, Keough wrote another chapter in the city’s soccer history when he became the head coach of St. Louis University. With five NCAA tournament championships already in the trophy case, Keough guided the Billikens to another championship in his first season in 1967. He’d go on to lead the school to four more tournament titles in five years from 1969-1973.
One of the top players in U.S. MNT history, Brian McBride attended the school from 1990-1993, before going on to play in three World Cups and build a famous club career, most notably with Fulham FC in the English Premier League. Other World Cup participants that hail from St. Louis include Mike Sorber (1994) and Brad Davis (2014).
Current U.S. MNT defender Tim Ream, as well as former U.S. internationals Taylor Twellman, Steve Ralston, Chris Klein and Pat Noonan also earned their soccer stripes coming up in the Gateway to the West.
Though it’s been a while since the MNT’s last appearance in St. Louis, the team has been successful in the Mound City, going 5-1-2 all-time with the only defeat being a World Cup qualifying loss to Canada on July 6, 1957. Six of the eight matches played in St. Louis have been World Cup qualifiers, with the MNT earning two wins (against Jamaica and Costa Rica) and a draw (against El Salvador) in the team’s successful campaign to qualify for the 1990 FIFA World Cup.
CHICAGO (Feb. 26, 2015) – Ballots have been finalized for the National Soccer Hall of Fame Class of 2015 elections, and voting will begin immediately for the Player, Veteran Player and Builder categories. Voting will continue through Friday, March 20, and the election results will be announced shortly after. Induction ceremony details for the Class of 2015 will be announced at a later date.
Players in their first year of eligibility include the following: two-time FIFA World Cup participant and current Columbus Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter; 13-year MLS veteran Jimmy Conrad; 13-year MNT fixture and MLS Cup champion Frankie Hejduk; 2008 Olympic gold medalist Natasha Kai; four-time FIFA World Cup participant and three-time CONCACAF Gold Cup Champion Kasey Keller; 10-year MNT veteran and current LA Galaxy technical director Jovan Kirovski; 1996 Olympic gold medalist and 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup champion Tiffeny Milbrett; two-time MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Pat Onstad; three-time MLS Cup champion Eddie Robinson; Colombian MLS star Diego Serna; two-time Olympic gold medalist Lindsay Tarpley; 15-year veteran and two-time MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Zach Thornton; and six-year WNT forward Christie Welsh.
Of the 31 players on the Player ballot, Robin Fraser and Shannon MacMillan are in their final year of eligibility.
In order to be eligible for election as a Player, an individual must be retired for at least three years, but for no more than 10 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 named to a postseason All-League or All-Star team at least once.
The voting pool includes all past and present full Men's and Women's National Team coaches, all active MLS and NWSL head coaches with a minimum of four years of experience as a head coach at the highest level in the United States, MLS and NWSL management representatives, the MLS and NWSL Commissioners, U.S. Soccer CEO/Secretary General, U.S. Soccer President, designated media members, and all Hall of Famers.
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 removed from voting contention until they qualify for the Veteran ballot.
2015 National Soccer Hall of Fame Player BallotChris Armas
* First year of eligibility
** Final year of eligibility; moves to Veteran ballot in 2016
In addition to the Player ballot, voting is also set to begin for the Veteran Player and Builder ballots. Nine 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 Veteran 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 individual appears on 50 percent of the ballots, then no Veteran will be elected to the 2015 Class. More than one candidate may be elected in the event of a tie.
In order to be eligible for election as a Veteran, an individual must be retired for more than 10 years, and have either: 1) Played in at least 20 international games for the U.S. This requirement is reduced to 10 games if the games were prior to 1990, or 2) Played at least five seasons in an American first-division professional league and named to a postseason All-League or All-Star team at least once. or 3) Played at least five seasons in the MISL between 1984 and the end of the league in 1992, and been selected as a first-team postseason All-Star in at least one of those seasons.
2015 National Soccer Hall of Fame Veteran Ballot
The 2015 Builder ballot includes nine 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 must be at least 50 years old and are eligible by making their mark in the soccer community in a non-playing capacity while sustaining a major and positive impact on American Soccer at the national federation or first-division level for at least 10 years. Referees must serve as a FIFA referee for at least seven years to be eligible (although a referee who has less than seven years as a FIFA international referee still can qualify for the list via 10 or more years as a United States first-division referee).
2015 National Soccer Hall of Fame Builder Ballot
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.
Date of Birth
Feb 29, 1980
St. Louis, Mo.
New England Revolution