Five Things to Know: National Soccer Hall of Fame Elections

Every spring, the list of eligible individuals for induction to the National Soccer Hall of Fame is released by U.S. Soccer. Here are five things to know about how players, veterans and builders of the beautiful game become members of the National Soccer Hall of Fame.

What is the National Soccer Hall of Fame?

Established in 1950 by the Philadelphia Old Timer’s Association, 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.

Who is eligible for induction into the National Soccer Hall of Fame?

The Hall of Fame inducts individuals in three categories: player, veteran and builder.

In order to meet the player eligibility criteria established by the Hall’s Board of Directors, a player must have met No. 1 and either No. 2 or No. 3 of the following three criteria:

1. A player must have been retired as a player for at least three full calendar years, but for no more than 10 full calendar years (for purposes of the 2018 election, this means that he or she must have retired no later than 2014 and no earlier than 2008).

2. A player must have played at least 20 full international games for the United States. This 20-game requirement is reduced to 10 games if the games were prior to 1990.

3. A player must have played at least five seasons in an American first-division professional league and been a postseason league all-star or Best XI selection at least once.

Players who have met either No. 2 or No. 3 but who retired too long ago to still meet No. 1 are placed on the Veterans Eligibility List. Players who are not named on at least five percent of the ballots in any election are removed from the Player Eligibility List and added to the Veterans ballot when they have been retired for more than 10 years.

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. (10 games if they were before 1990)


2) Played at least five seasons in an American first-division professional league and selected as league All-Star at least once,


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.

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).

Can someone be nominated for the National Soccer Hall of Fame?

A person cannot be nominated for the National Soccer of Fame if they do not meet the eligibility criteria.

Candidates on the Veterans election for eight consecutive years without reaching the final round of voting in any of those years are dropped from the eligibility list for subsequent elections. However, when an application is made to the Hall of Fame by anyone seeking to have a dropped candidate restored to the list for an additional eight years, that application will automatically be accepted.

Due to the broad, general nature of the criteria for Builder candidates, nominations for this category may be considered. Nominations are screened by the Hall Historian and Hall Researcher, who submit their recommendations to the Hall as to the appropriateness of the nominee's inclusion on the eligibility list.

Who votes for National Soccer Hall of Fame Inductees?

The voting committee for the Player Ballot 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 professional level in the United States, MLS and NWSL management representatives, the MLS Commissioner and NWSL Executive Director, U.S. Soccer CEO/Secretary General, U.S. Soccer President, designated media members and all Hall of Famers.

Each voter can select 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.

In addition to voting for Player candidates, the committee also votes for the Veteran and Builder candidates. The veteran ballot is only voted on only by current Hall of Famers after the list has been narrowed down by a screening committee.

Voters can select 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 is elected to a given year’s class. More than one candidate may be elected in the event of a tie.

The Builder ballot includes 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.

When is the Induction Ceremony?

The 2018 class will enter during Hall of Fame Induction Weekend, presented by Budweiser, on Oct. 20-21, 2018, at the new Hall of Fame facility at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas. The weekend will feature a concert by Grammy-winning band Imagine Dragons, as well as the Induction Ceremony, a match between FC Dallas and Sporting KC and an NASL Veterans Game. More information is available at the Hall of Fame website: