Hall of Fame
Lalas, Lassiter, Venturini-Hoch, Overbeck, are added to 2006 ballot.
(Wednesday, March 8, 2006) -- Former Major League Soccer and United States men's defender Alexi Lalas and striker Roy Lassiter, and one-time U.S. women's and Women's United Soccer Association defender Carla Overbeck and midfielder Tisha Venturini-Hoch stand out among a group of 10 players who are eligible for the first time for induction into the National Hall of Fame in Oneonta, N.Y.
The new additions bring to 57 the number of former men's and women's players eligible for entry into the Hall this year. The 2006 Induction Weekend will be held August 26-28.
El Salvador native and former MLS midfielder Mauricio Cienfuegos, defenders Mike Clark and Chad McCarty, and goalkeeper Tom Presthus are new on the ballot, as are U.S. women's and WUSA midfielders Jena Kluegel and Nikki Serlenga are also new on the ballot.
The top two voter-getters gain admittance if they are named by at least half of the voters. A third player can earn election in the same year if he or she is named on at least 80 percent of the ballots.
U.S. men's defender-midfielder Thomas Dooley and striker Hugo Perez received more than 50 percent of possible votes in 2005. Dooley was named on 72 ballots (58.54 percent) and Perez on 62 (50.41) percent.
Perez is in his last year of eligibility, as are Desmond Armstrong, Eric Eichmann, Bruce Murray, Mary Harvey and Perry Van der Beck. If they fail to make the Hall this year, they are referred to the Veteran's Committee and possible later induction.
There is also the "builders" category for induction, established to include those who have made major contributions to the growth and well-being of the American game.
There are three criteria determining eligibility for a recently retired player. The candidate must be retired as a player for at least three years, but for no more than 10 years. Then, he or she must have played at least 20 full international games for the U.S., or must have played at least five seasons in an American first-division professional league and won the league championship, won the U.S. Open Cup or been a league All-Star at least once.
Midfield great Marco Etcheverry, who led D.C. United to three championships in MLS's first four years and whose 101 assists are fourth most in league history, retired from American soccer in 2003. He would have been eligible for this year's ballot except he returned to his native Bolivia and played professionally for half a season, said Jack Huckel, the Hall's Director of Museum and Archives.
Ballots are distributed to media selected by the Hall; all living Hall of Famers; present and former U.S. national-team coaches; MLS coaches with four or more years of tenure; and U.S. Soccer Federation and MLS executives at the Hall's choosing.
There are the player on the 2006 Hall of Fame ballot:
Robert Wagman is SoccerTimes senior correspondent. E-mail Robert Wagman.
Do you have a comment on this story or something to say about soccer in general? Send us a letter.