While sometimes players view their own versatility as a curse, because it can mean they never get to settle into one role on the field, today the ability to play multiple positions was recognized.
In fact, versatility was given the American game's highest honor.
The United States Soccer Hall of Fame announced on Wednesday that Peter Vermes and Joe-Max Moore are its newest inductees.
Vermes and Moore personify the word "versatility."
Vermes may, in fact, go down as the United States' greatest jack-of-all-trades ever. When you consider as a professional he went from striker to midfielder to defender on the field and from sporting director to head coach off the field, that doesn’t leave many positions left for the Delran, N.J., native to fill.
A key member of the largely amateur team that played in the 1990 World Cup in Italy, Vermes was also a true American soccer pioneer as he was one of the first to earn a living overseas, playing in Hungary and the Netherlands prior to the launch of MLS in 1996.
"Moving around the field has helped me as a coach," Vermes said recently. "If I'd never been asked to play in central defense, I'd never be able to discuss the nuances of zonal defense on the same level as I can now. Having played all of those positions, I think, helps me tie it all together for a lot of players. When I'm talking to a guy about his position, I'm also explaining to him how it ties into the guys around him."
Moore, while never asked to play defender as a professional, served as a forward and midfielder, not only for the New England Revolution, but for the US national team.
The list of honors for both players is long. For Vermes, who won an MLS Cup title with the 2000 Kansas City Wizards, there is an MLS Defender of the Year Award to go along with 66 USMNT caps. For Moore, there are 100 caps and 24 goals to go along with 41 goals and 35 assists for the Revolution, and another 29 goals scored in Germany and England.
Both players will be remembered for their intensity. Vermes was the vocal leader of MetroStars, Rapids and Wizards, while Moore's ferocity around the goal was legendary.
But more than anything, it was their ability to adapt to what their teams needed that separated Vermes and Moore. And that is why today, they are Hall of Famers.