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Chicago Fire alums eligible for 2018 National Soccer Hall of Fame induction

As of Monday, voting has officially begun for elections to the National Soccer Hall of Fame Class of 2018, and the Men In Red are well-represented.

Six nominees with ties to the Chicago Fire are featured on the 2018 player ballot, including: Defender Carlos Bocanegra (2000-2003) in his first year of eligibility, former assistant coach Clint Mathis (coach: 2014-15), defender Tony Sanneh (2005-06), Fire original Josh Wolff (1998-2002), and Ring of Fire honoree and all-time leading goal-scorer Ante Razov (1998-2004).

Razov, a 1998 MLS Cup champion and three-time Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup winner, is in his final year of eligibility.

In addition, former U.S. Men's National Team defender and Fire USL Premier Development League player Jay DeMerit is among the nine nominees eligible for selection for the first time in 2018.

Voting runs through Monday, March 26, 2018 for the Player, Veteran Player and Builder categories. The results of the voting will be announced at a later date. 

The Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be held on Saturday, Oct. 20, and marks the grand opening of the National Soccer Hall of Fame at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Tx. On Sunday, Oct. 21, FC Dallas will host Sporting Kansas City in the National Soccer Hall of Fame Game, presented by Budweiser.

Players in their first year of eligibility include three-time MLS All-Star and MLS MVP finalist Juan Pablo Angel; two-time FIFA World Cup squad member, 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup champion and former U.S. MNT captain Carlos Bocanegra; 2006 FIFA World Cup participant Bobby Convey; 2010 FIFA World Cup and 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup defender Jay DeMerit; three-time FIFA World Cup squad member Brad Friedel; 1998 FIFA World Cup champion and three-time MLS All-Star Thierry Henry; 2010 FIFA World Cup participant Stuart Holden; 2006 FIFA World Cup squad member and 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup champion Eddie Johnson; and 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup team member Lori Lindsey.

To be eligible for selection in the Player category, an individual must have been retired for at least three full calendar years, but for no more than 10 full calendar years AND meet one of the following criteria:

  • 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.
  • A player must have played at least five seasons in an American first-division professional league and been a postseason league all-star at least once.
  • Played at least five seasons in the Major Indoor Soccer League between the end of the NASL in 1984 and the end of the MISL in 1992 and been selected as a first-team postseason all-star in at least one of those seasons.

The voting committee includes all past and present Men's and Women's full 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 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.

2018 National Soccer Hall of Fame Player Ballot 

  • Juan Pablo Angel*
  • David Beckham
  • Gregg Berhalter
  • Carlos Bocanegra*
  • Steve Cherundolo
  • Brian Ching
  • Bobby Convey*
  • Jeff Cunningham
  • Jay DeMerit*
  • Brad Friedel*
  • Kevin Hartman
  • Frankie Hejduk
  • Thierry Henry*
  • Stuart Holden*
  • Eddie Johnson*
  • Chris Klein
  • Eddie Lewis
  • Lori Lindsey*
  • Kate Sobrero Markgraf
  • Pablo Mastroeni
  • Clint Mathis
  • Tiffeny Milbrett
  • Heather Mitts
  • Jaime Moreno
  • Ben Olsen
  • Pat Onstad
  • Steve Ralston
  • Ante Razov**
  • Tony Sanneh
  • Taylor Twellman
  • Aly Wagner
  • Josh Wolff

*First year of eligibility
**Final year of eligibility; moves to Veteran ballot in 2019

In addition to voting for Player candidates, voting will also open for the Veteran and Builder candidates. Nine (9) veteran players are up for selection on the Veteran ballot, which is voted on by current Hall of Famers after the list was 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 2018 Class. More than one candidate may be elected in the event of a tie.

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 selected as league All-Star at least once, or 3) Played at least five seasons in the MISL between the end of the NASL in 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.

2018 National Soccer Hall of Fame Veteran Ballot

  • Mike Burns
  • Kevin Crow
  • John Doyle
  • Marco Etcheverry
  • Linda Hamilton
  • Shep Messing
  • Cindy Parlow
  • Tiffany Roberts
  • Tisha Venturini-Hoch

The 2018 Builder ballot includes seven (7) 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 of age and are eligible by making their mark in the soccer community in a non-playing capacity while having a major, sustained 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).

2018 National Soccer Hall of Fame Builder Ballot

  • Esse Baharmast
  • Dr. Robert Contiguglia
  • Joe Cummings
  • Tim Leiweke
  • Francisco Marcos
  • Kevin Payne
  • Steve Sampson

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. In 2018, the National Soccer Hall of Fame will open its doors in a new facility in Frisco, Texas. A complete schedule of events for Induction Weekend is available at nationalsoccerhof.com.

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.

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