NEW YORK - The National Soccer Hall of Fame today announced that American soccer legends and former Major League Soccer stars Marcelo Balboa, John Harkes, and Tab Ramos were elected to the Class of 2005. The three U.S. National Team staples of the 1990s will be inducted in the official ceremony to be held at the National Soccer Hall of Fame in Oneonta, NY on August 29, 2005.
"Major League Soccer is proud to congratulate three of the League's founders on their election to the National Soccer Hall of Fame," said MLS Commissioner Don Garber. "Hall of Fames are built for players like Tab, Marcelo and John. As members of the first Hall of Fame class comprised entirely of former MLS players, they have left a lasting legacy for our League and the sport of soccer in our country."
Balboa, a Community Ambassador for the Colorado Rapids and an ESPN broadcaster, played for the Rapids from 1996-2001 before retiring following one season with the MetroStars. Ramos, the first ever player signed to play in MLS, spent seven seasons with the MetroStars. Harkes captained D.C. United to the first two MLS Cup championships in 1996 and 1997 and also played for the New England Revolution (1999-2001) and Columbus Crew (2001-2002). Harkes is D.C. United's Director of Youth Development as well as an assistant coach for the U.S. Under-20 National Team which qualified for the FIFA World Youth Championship to be held this June.
All three players were clear choices in their first year of eligibility for election to the Hall of Fame and form the first ever all-MLS Hall of Fame class. A total of 123 votes were cast, an increase of 51 votes over the 2004 election. Election rules call for the top three individuals to be elected if each receives more than 80 percent of the votes cast.
"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," said National Soccer Hall of Fame President and CEO Will Lunn. "We look forward to welcoming them to their new home in Oneonta."
Top 10 Individuals Receiving Votes
Name Number of Votes Percentage (%) 1-t Marcelo Balboa 108 87.80 1-t Tab Ramos 108 87.80 3 John Harkes 107 86.99 4 Thomas Dooley 72 58.54 5 Hugo Perez 62 50.41 6 Peter Vermes 57 46.34 7 Carlos Valderrama 54 43.90 8 Bruce Murray 42 34.15 9 Peter Nowak 32 26.02 10 Roy Wegerle 31 25.20