National Soccer Hall of Fame announces changes to voting procedure

National Soccer Hall of Fame - July 4, 2019

The National Soccer Hall of Fame has announced revised election procedures and updated eligibility qualifications for its nominees for induction, beginning with the class of 2021.

The new process adopted by the NSHOF Board of Directors was discussed by executive director Djorn Buchholz in a Thursday story from Sports Illustrated's Brian Strauss, in which Buchholz gave his thoughts on how to shore up the process and prevent the type of snubs like Hope Solo and Steve Cheurndolo that generated controversy on last year's ballot.

The procedural changes were also detailed in a Thursday press release from the NSHOF, in which Buchholz said "it was apparent the current election process was not allowing us to fully meet our mission of honoring those who have made significant contributions to the game in the United States."

“What frustrates me, and has really made us look at this process over the last couple of years, is that when we do come out and announce our class, a lot of times it’s about who didn’t make it instead of who did, and I don’t like that,” Buchholz told Strauss. “I’m incredibly disappointed Hope didn’t get in, but that was the conversation. I think doing this will help.”

The main change to the election procedure is the Hall of Fame staff will appoint new Screening and Voting Committees for each of the Players, Veterans and Builders categories. The committees will be comprised of a list of soccer experts in the United States.

The role of the Screening Committees is to create the final ballot for consideration for the Voting Committees and to put forth a list of Players, Veterans and Builders who are most deserving of consideration to be elected. The role of the Voting Committees is to vote on the Final Ballot to determine who will be elected to the National Soccer Hall of Fame in each cycle.

Per Thursday's release, going forward each Hall of Fame class is designed to ideally include three or four individuals, with the typical class composition being:

  • Player: 2
  • Veteran: 1
  • Builder: 1

Those who receive the minimum standard of being named on at least 50% of the respective Voting Committee ballots will be eligible for election. After reaching the 50% threshold, the two players, one veteran, and one builder who receive the highest voting percentages in any cycle will be elected to the NSHOF.

If either a Veteran or a Builder does not receive at least 50% support, the Player who finishes in third place on the Player Final Ballot will be elected if the player receives support from 66.7% of the Player Voting Committee Ballots. For a third player to be elected, all three players must be named on 66.7% of the ballots.

If no Veteran or Builder receives at least 50% support, the Player that finishes in third place on the Player Final Ballot will be automatically elected, if this player also receives the minimum standard (50%) from Player Voting Committee Ballots.

Lastly, the player eligibility has been expanded to create a path for U.S. Extended National Teams programs which currently includes the Men’s and Women’s Para 7-a-Side National Team, the Futsal National Team and the Men’s and Women’s Beach Soccer National Teams.