The National Soccer Hall of Fame announced the latest individuals eligible for the Class of 2022, with several premier players among the nominees.
Clint Dempsey, Robbie Keane, and Yael Averbuch headline the list of players who enter their first year of eligibility. Also in their first year of eligibility is longtime MLS and former U.S. men’s national team defender Brad Evans.
Dempsey totaled 57 goals in 141 caps with the USMNT during his career, scoring in three different World Cups. Dempsey began his professional career with the New England Revolution before moving to Europe, where he played for Fulham and Tottenham. The 38-year-old, who finished his career with the Seattle Sounders, scored 154 goals in 475 career first-team appearances between stints in England and the United States.
Keane spent the majority of his playing career in Europe, featuring for Tottenham on two different stints. The Republic of Ireland international made the move to MLS in 2011, joining the LA Galaxy and finishing with three MLS Cup titles and one Supporters’ Shield to his name.
Averbuch totaled 26 caps with the USWNT during her career, scoring one goal. The New Jersey native excelled collegiately with the University of North Carolina before playing professionally in the United States, Sweden, and Russia.
Evans totaled 230 appearances in MLS, spending most of his career with the Seattle Sounders from 2009-17. The midfielder/defenders also earned 27 caps with the USMNT, earning 10 of those caps in 2013.
The eligibility list also includes 16 finalists who return from the 2021 election. Those finalists are: Hope Solo, Shannon Boxx, Josh McKinney, Lauren Cheney Holiday, David Beckham, Heather Mitts, Lori Chalupny, Keith Johnson, Aly Wagner, Cat Reddick Whitehill, Pablo Mastroeni, Oguchi Onyewu, Shalrie Joseph, Kevin Hartman, Thierry Henry and Josh Wolff.
Mitts, Wagner, Wolff and Jeff Cunningham are in their final year of eligibility on the Player ballot. If not elected, they would move to the Veteran ballot for the 2023 election.
Each voter will select 10 candidates and any player receiving 66.7% or higher will earn their place in the Hall of Fame. Players receiving less than five percent will be removed from contention until they are eligible for the veteran ballot.
All individuals need to be retired from playing for three calendar years, but no more than ten in order to be eligible for the player ballot. Players will also need to have either of the two following categories: 1) Having played in at least 20 full international games for the United States. 2) Having played at least five seasons in an American first-division professional league. Players also need to be named to a postseason league all-star team at least once.
New voting rules will also see an 18-member Player Screening Committee, which will narrow the list of candidates to a final ballot of 20 players, which will go to the full 48-member Player Voting Committee. Each voter can select up to10 candidates; players named to the most ballots gain election as follows:
- If both a Veteran and a Builder are being elected, the top two vote earners from the Player ballot also will be elected.
- If either a Veteran or a Builder are not being elected, the top three vote-earning Players will be elected if all three received at least 66.7% of the Voting Committee’s votes.
- If neither a Veteran nor a Builder are being elected, the top three vote-earning Players will be elected if all three received at least 50% of the Voting Committee’s votes.
- A Player must be named to at least 50% of Voting Committee ballots to be eligible.
The 2022 Induction Weekend will take place on May 21 in Frisco, Texas.
What do you think of the new eligible candidates? Which players would be on your ballot for the Hall of Fame Class of 2022.