Best known as one of the leading American players in the North American Soccer League (NASL), Davis, an attacking midfielder played his entire NASL career (1978-1984) with the world renowned New York Cosmos. He competed beside many internationally recognized stars including Pele, Franz Beckenbauer, Giorgio Chinaglia and Carlos Alberto.
Davis was nicknamed "Captain America" during his twelve year U.S. National Team career. He suited up in the red, white and blue for thirty-six international matches and scored seven goals for the USA between 1977 and 1988. He was the team captain for almost every international he started from 1984 until his retirement. This run included the 1984 and 1988 World Cup Qualifiers plus the 1984 and 1988 Olympics. He scored against El Salvador in his first international match and tallied against the Soviet Union, Portugal, Luxembourg and Mexico. A knee injury in January 1989 ended his international career.
"Rick Davis is an outstanding choice. He represented the USA both on the national team and in the NASL with the Cosmos during soccer's growth years and bridged the gap between the NASL and MLS," said National Soccer Hall of Fame president, Will Lunn. "He began his U.S. national team career playing beside fellow NASL standouts Mausser, Myernick, Bandov, D'Errico, and DiBernardo and played his last U.S. matches with another generation, players like future MLS stars Agoos, Balboa, and Vermes. That's incredible," Lunn said.
Davis joined the Cosmos in 1978 after one season of intercollegiate soccer at Santa Clara University and was one of the first players in America to give up collegiate eligibility for a professional career. Davis played on NASL championship teams in 1978, 1980, and 1982 and is the fourth player from the Cosmos to be inducted into the Hall of Fame following Werner Roth (1989), Pele (1993), Franz Beckenbauer (1998) and Giorgio Chinaglia (2000).
After the leaving the Cosmos in 1984, Davis continued his professional career in the Major Indoor Soccer League, playing for the St. Louis Steamers, New York Express, and the Tacoma Stars, before retiring in 1990.
When informed of his election, Davis said, "I am honored. I am continually amazed at the recognition I receive for simply playing the game I love. I have always remembered the first day I entered the Cosmos team room in Giants Stadium. I saw all the lockers with name plates like Pele, Beckenbauer, Neeskens, and Chinaglia plus all the other great names - and there was one that had 'Davis' above it. WOW! I thought then. I have the same feelings today. WOW!"
Davis is currently the Technical Director for Junior United Soccer Association Select, a youth soccer program located in Orange County, California.
"Davis is the one player from the current eligibility list who will be inducted in the 2001 Class," announced Jack Huckel, the Hall of Fame's Director of Museum and Services. "In the past two players have been selected, however, despite the very strong slate of candidates, Rick was the only nominee to appear on over 50% of the ballots, receiving nearly twice as many votes as the second leading candidate."
Davis will join previously announced inductees Bill Looby and Bob Hermann in the Induction 2001 Class. Looby and Hermann were selected by the Veteran's Committee. Looby played for the US and St. Louis Kutis in the 50's and 60's, while Hermann was the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the NASL for 14 years.