Bill Looby and Bob Hermann Elected by Veteran's Committee to National Soccer Hall of Fame
ONEONTA, N.Y. (Monday, June 25, 2001) - Two St. Louis natives, Bill Looby and Bob Hermann, have been selected to the National Soccer Hall of Fame by the Veteran's Committee for Induction 2001. Looby and Hermann will join two players soon to be chosen by the Hall of Fame Selection Committee, a process that involves balloting by the national soccer media via the Hall's web site, the results of which will be announced in mid-July.
Looby played for the St. Louis Kutis team that won 6 consecutive U.S. Amateur Cups in the late-1950's and early-1960's and the U.S. National Team which won the Bronze Medal for U.S. Soccer in the 1959 Pan American Games. Hermann was instrumental in the formation and growth of the North American Soccer League as a team owner of the St. Louis Stars and Chairman of the Board of Directors for the NASL.
Looby, born November 20, 1931, in St. Louis, Mo. and whose shooting power was belied by his slender build and gentlemanly conduct, set high standards for himself. In reaction to his election, Harriet Looby, widow of the St. Louis star, said, "Bill excelled in every sport he played and spent hours and hours practicing, researching and delving into all aspects in order to be the best. After his playing career ended, he took up golf and ended up being a scratch golfer. However, soccer was always number one. He was totally dedicated to the game and never tired of enjoying old photos, replaying past games or just talking soccer. He would be so proud to be the recipient of the Ultimate Honor."
Harry Keough, the right back for both Kutis and the U.S. National Team through the 1950's, has a long recollection of Bill Looby. "Bill was a two-footed player who could strike a ball from distance. In his inside right position for Kutis, he was adept at setting up goals as well, but it was his ability to score from outside the penalty area that made him an exceptional player. The one goal I most remember was against Antonio Carbajal, the five-time Mexican World Cup goalkeeper. He struck a volley from all of 35 yards that powered and dipped its way into the goal. We lead Mexico in Mexico for 75 minutes on Bill's goal. We lost in the end, but it was the only time we played against them and I felt they really had to work to be the winner."
Teammate George Brown from the Pan American team recalls Looby as "dominant in the air with a strong shot on the turn. His goals in the Pan American Games propelled the team to the Bronze Medal."
Looby is the 16th player from St. Louis to be elected to the Hall of Fame. An impressive 19 percent of the players in the Hall of Fame have ties to the St. Louis community from the first class in 1950 with Harry Ratican and Bill Gonsalves to six members of the 1950 World Cup team that defeated England. The last St. Louis native inducted was Jimmy Roe, 1997, an inside forward with Stix, Baer, and Fuller, Central Breweries, and Shamrocks, who played in 5 consecutive Open Cup finals in the 1930's, winning three.
Bob Hermann, born January 3, 1923, in St. Louis, began his professional soccer work as President of the National Professional Soccer League at its formation in June 1966. In the following nine months Bob recruited owners, management and players to staff the fledging league for a Spring 1967 launch. His vision and energy gave the United States its first nationwide professional league. In 1967 the NPSL and the United Soccer Association, a rival professional league, united to form the North American Soccer League, the 17-year professional league that brought world greats Pele, Franz Beckenbauer, and Johan Cruyff to the United States. Until the end of 1979, Bob Hermann was the leader of professional soccer in the United States as Chairman of the Executive Committee of the NASL. He was the President and primary owner of the St. Louis Stars and California Surf through the 1980 season.
Hermann also inaugurated the first collegiate MVP award with the Hermann Trophy, presented annually to the top male and female NCAA Division I soccer players. The list is dotted with players of unquestioned skill and accomplishment like future Hall of Famers Michelle Akers (1988), Kristine Lilly (1991), and Mia Hamm (1992-93). The list also includes NASL alums Al Trost (1969-70), Glenn Myernick (1976), Angelo DiBernardo (1978), and current MLS and U.S. National Team stars Alexi Lalas (1991), Brad Friedel (1992), and Claudio Reyna (1993).
"I am thrilled to receive this honor. I have had a wonderful relationship with soccer since my youth in St. Louis. I was excited to build a professional league and worked hard for 15 years to make it work. Most gratifying to me is that the NASL laid the groundwork for today's youth soccer boon and the success of today's National Teams."
Phil Woosnam, commissioner of the NASL and a Hall of Famer commented, "Bob Hermann most deservedly joins Lamar Hunt, inducted in 1982, as the only NASL franchise owners to be inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame at this time. Both have provided strong leadership as pioneers of soccer in the United States, and have made outstanding contributions to its growth in participation and popularity during the past 35 years."
Hall of Famers are selected by the Selection Committee and by the Veteran's Committee. The Selection Committee utilizes a two-stage process: first a ballot is created by votes from a six member committee of former US national team coaches. Second, the results of this vote creates the final ballot which then appears on the Hall of Fame web site (www.soccerhall.org) for the media to access and vote on-line. The Veteran's Committee is comprised of Hall of Famers who may elect annually a Player and may elect a Builder biannually to the Hall of Fame. Players who meet the established eligibility criteria and are 25 years or more retired appear on the preliminary ballot for consideration. An unweighted vote identifies 5 to 10 players for a final ballot. On the final ballot voters are asked to select their top three individuals in rank order. Ballots are tabulated at the National Soccer Hall of Fame by Museum Services staff.
Election for currently eligible players is ongoing through the National Soccer Hall of Fame web site www.soccerhall.org. Fans are invited to express their opinion on the Fan Poll site, while media must register on the site and are immediately directed to their official ballot.
Induction 2001 festivities are planned for October with the announcement of events and times scheduled for early July. Keep current with the National Soccer Hall of Fame web site for the latest news and results of the Fan Poll and Media Ballot.
The National Soccer Hall of Fame, located on a 61-acre campus in Oneonta, New York, was founded in Oneonta in 1979. It features a range of exhibits on the history of soccer in the United States from the first game played on Boston Common to the latest scores and standings. Rare artifacts on exhibit include the world's oldest soccer ball and FIFA's Women's World Cup trophy won by the U.S. Women's National Team in 1999. In addition to the Museum, the National Soccer Hall of Fame complex boasts an interactive Kicks Game Zone, a pro shop, a gift shop, library, four world class soccer fields and office/meeting facilities. The Hall plans to add a year round indoor soccer arena and small stadium in the future.