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Harkes, Balboa and Ramos Elected to National Soccer Hall of Fame


CHICAGO (April 19, 2005) - Former U.S. internationals Marcelo Balboa, John Harkes and Tab Ramos were elected to the National Soccer Hall of Fame today, each gaining entry in their first year on the ballot.  The trio of World Cup veterans will formally be inducted into the Hall of Fame in a ceremony Aug. 29 in Oneonta, N.Y.

The trio were the overwhelming favorites to be enshrined as the 2005 Class, each having collected well over the 80% votes required for induction.  Other notable U.S. players on this year's ballot included Thomas Dooley, Hugo Perez, Peter Vermes, Bruce Murray and Roy Wegerle.

Harkes, whose career began with the national team in 1987, earned over 90 caps while netting six goals for the United States.  A pioneer who was the first American ever to play in England's famed Wembley Stadium, he was made captain of the U.S. team in 1995, serving for three years. 

Marcelo Balboa  is the second-most capped defender in U.S. history with 128 international appearances, and is the all-time leading scorer for defenders with 13 career goals.  A three-time World Cup veteran famous for his long locks as well as his flair for connecting on bicycle kicks, he was honored as the U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year award twice during his 13-year national team career (1992, 1994). 

Ramos also appeared in three World Cups for the United States, and remains one of the most skillful and creative players ever to wear the U.S. jersey.  On September 7, 1997 he scored one of the most memorable goals in U.S. Soccer history, notching the game-winner against Costa Rica in World Cup Qualifying that secured a place for the men’s national team at the 1998 FIFA World Cup. 

All three players were clear choices in their first year of eligibility for election to the Hall of Fame and form the first all-MLS Hall of Fame class ever. A total of 123 votes were cast, and increase of 51 votes over the 2004 election. Election rules state that the top three will be elected if each receives more than 80% of the votes cast.
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