Balboa, Harkes, Ramos elected to Hall of Fame

ONEONTA, N.Y. - The National Soccer Hall of Fame today announced that U.S. National Team stars and pioneers in the formation of Major League Soccer Marcelo Balboa, John Harkes, and Tab Ramos will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on August 29 in Oneonta, NY. "What a glorious Class of 2005!" President/CEO Will Lunn said. "These are players who have truly made a difference to soccer in America, most notably on the field, but they have been so very important in the growth of the game on all levels. We look forward to welcoming them to their new home in Oneonta."

All three players were runaway 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.

The top ten results were:

Name Votes Percentage
Marcelo Balboa 108 votes 87.80%
Tab Ramos 108 votes 87.80%
John Harkes 107 votes 86.99%
Thomas Dooley 72 votes 58.54%
Hugo Perez 62 votes 50.41%
Peter Vermes 57 votes 46.34%
Carlos Valderrama 54 votes 43.90%
Bruce Murray 42 votes 34.15%
Peter Nowak 32 votes 26.02%
Roy Wegerle 31 votes 25.20%

ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA:

In order to be eligible for election to the Hall of Fame, a player must meet criterion #1 and either #2 or #3 of the following three criteria.

No. 1. He or she must have been retired as a player for at least three years, but for no more than 10 years (for the 2005 election, this means that he or she must have retired no later than 2002 and no earlier than 1995).

No. 2. He or she 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.

No. 3. He or she 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.

Players who meet either #2 or #3 but who retired more than 10 years ago are eligible for election via the Veterans Committee.

VOTERS:

The following individuals were eligible to vote in the 2005 Hall of Fame Election:

Media selected by the National Soccer Hall of Fame in conjunction with U.S. Soccer, Major League Soccer, and the Women's United Soccer Association,Hall of Famers, All current and past senior U.S. National Team Coaches, MLS coaches with at least 4 years tenure as a head coach in the League, The Secretary General of U.S. Soccer, the Commissioner of MLS and the MLS Board of Governors.

QUOTES:

Marcelo Balboa:

"This is something you dream about, beginning as young player, but when the call comes, you first reaction is "Holy Cow!"

"This the best telephone call of my professional life!"

John Harkes:

"I received the call on my cell phone while driving and I had to pull the car over."

"I am overwhelmed with the honor. It is not an everyday event that you get to be honored by the people that are knowledgeable in the game. I could not be more proud."

Tab Ramos:

"Oh God! I have to sit down."

"You can never be prepared for a moment like this. I am extremely honored to be one of the soccer names that will live forever and I say that with great respect for the Hall of Famers who preceded me."

Bob Gansler: (Coach of the 1990 U.S. National Team when all three made their first appearance in the World Cup and currently coach of the Kansas City Wizards of MLS)

"These are truly deserving players. They have at every level, youth, Olympic, World Cup, and in the professional leagues at home and overseas showed their quality."

"These players set a high standard for the players to follow. Tab by going to Spain and showing the confidence and perseverance to go through the second division and on to La Liga; John in his play in England, and certainly, Celo making his mark in Mexico."

"In 1990 the coaches, Ralph Perez, Joe Machnick, and myself, were very impressed with the great group of young men we took to Italy for the World Cup. I was asked there if these players could play anywhere but the U.S., and I said we had at least 6 who would not only make it anywhere, but could shine! These guys did it. Not just their talent was on display, but their passion for the game and their willingness to pay the price to be successful."


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