Longtime U.S. Women’s National Team midfielder Kristine Lilly and former New England Revolution midfielder Steve Ralston are among nine first-time nominees on this year’s National Soccer Hall of Fame ballot, which was distrubuted on Thursday.
“The National Soccer Hall of Fame class for 2014 will certainly be a stellar one,” said Hank Steinbrecher, Chairman of the Hall of Fame’s Board of Directors, in a statement. “Each and every one on the ballot is more than deserving of the ultimate recognition of being elected into the Hall. ”
Voting in the Player, Veteran Player and Builder will run through Feb. 7, and the election results will be announced shortly after. Induction ceremony details for the Class of 2014 will be announced at a later date.
Lilly, the most capped player in soccer history with 352 caps to her credit, earned her first cap with the United States Women’s National team at age 16 in 1987. She to played in five World Cups (1991, 1995, 1999, 2003 and 2007), and three Olympic tournaments (1996, 2000, 2004). During her international career, she scored 130 goals, which ranks third all-time behind Abby Wambach and Mia Hamm. She also played for the Boston Breakers during two separate stints (2001-03, 2009-11).
Ralston, who played in a MLS-record 378 matches for an outfield player, kicked off his career with the Tampa Bay Mutiny in 1996 before he landed in New England via the dispersal draft in 2002. During his time with the Revolution, the club reached four MLS Cup finals (2002, 2005-07). In 207 matches for the Revolution, he scored 20 goals and 73 assists. He currently serves an assistant coach for the Houston Dynamo.
In addition to Lilly and Ralston, Chris Klein, Eddie Lewis, Kristin Luckenbill, Clint Mathis, Brian McBride, Jaime Moreno and Briana Scurry all made their ballot debuts.
Former Revolution striker Taylor Twellman remains on the ballot for the second straight year, while current Revolution general manager and former U.S. Men’s National Team defender Michael Burns is once again on the Veteran Ballot.
Last year, former Revolution striker Joe-Max Moore was inducted into the Hall.
The voting pool includes all past and present full Men’s and Women’s National Team coaches, all active MLS and NWSL head coaches with a minimum of four years of experience as a head coach in a first-division league, MLS and NWSL management representatives, MLS Commissioner, NWSL Executive Director, U.S. Soccer CEO/Secretary General, U.S. Soccer President, designated media members, and all Hall of Famers.
Each voter can list up to 10 candidates per ballot. Any player appearing on at least 66.7 percent of ballots will earn election, while any player who does not appear on at least five percent of ballots will be removed from voting contention until they qualify for the Veteran ballot.
2014 National Soccer Hall of Fame Player Ballot
Raul Diaz Arce **
Marco Etcheverry **
Zoran Karic **
Chris Klein *
Eddie Lewis *
Kristine Lilly *
Kristin Luckenbill *
Kate Sobrero Markgraf*
Victor Nogueira **
Cindy Parlow Cone **
Briana Scurry *
* First year of eligibility
** Final year of eligibility; moves to Veteran ballot in 2015
Voting is also set to begin for the Veteran Player and Builder ballots. Fifteen players are up for selection on the Veteran ballot, which is voted on only by current Hall of Famers after the list has been narrowed down by a screening committee.
Voters can name up to five Veteran candidates, and the top vote-getter will be elected as long as he or she appears on a minimum of 50 percent of the ballots. If no individual appears on 50 percent of the ballots, then no Veteran will be elected to the 2014 Class. More than one candidate may be elected in the event of a tie.
Eligibility for the Veteran ballot is the same as the Player ballot except that a player must be retired for more than 10 years. Further, the U.S. National Team cap requirement is lowered from 20 to 10 if the 10 caps came before 1990.
Builders are eligible by making their mark in the soccer community in a non-playing capacity while sustaining a major and positive impact on U.S. Soccer at the national federation or first-division level for 10 years. Referees must serve as a FIFA referee for at least seven years to be eligible (although a referee who has less than seven years as a FIFA international referee still can qualify for the list via 10 or more years as a United States first-division referee).