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MLS figures past and present featured heavily as the National Soccer Hall of Fame, located at FC Dallas’ Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas, on Tuesday released its official list of eligible candidates for induction into this year’s class.


Hall of Fame candidates are evaluated from three categories: Players, Veterans and Builders. Former MLS standouts Edson Buddle, Kenny Cooper, Todd Dunivant, Heath Pearce, Troy Perkins, Donovan Ricketts and Bakary Soumare are among those entering their first year of eligibility in 2019.


Meanwhile, D.C. United head coach Ben Olsen, former MLS and USMNT great Tony Sanneh and New England Revolution goal king turned ESPN analyst Taylor Twellman are in the group facing their final year of eligibility under the Players classification.


Greg Vanney, Chris Armas, Mike Burns, John Doyle, Chris Henderson, Dominic Kinnear and Mike Sorber are included in the group eligible for induction under Veteran status. In the Builders category, Sunil Gulati, Tim Leiweke, Lothar Osiander and Kevin Payne are among the contenders for a spot in this year’s class.


The Players category is limited to those who’ve been retired for at least three, but no more than 10 years, and either played at least 20 full international games for the US men’s or women’s national teams, or played at least five seasons in an US first-division professional league and won a league championships, the U.S. Open Cup or was named a league All-Star.  


Veterans are those who’ve met the above criteria but retired more than 10 years. And Builders are those who “made his/her mark in soccer in a non-playing capacity and had a major, sustained and positive impact on US soccer on a national or first-division professional level.” See the Hall's full rundown of eligibility criteria here.


Voting for Hall of Fame inductees includes former coaches and soccer media; each voter can select up to 10 candidates per ballot and any player appearing on at least 66.7 percent of ballots will earn election. The Hall’s class of 2019 will be enshrined during Induction Weekend, set for Sept. 21-22 in Frisco.