Vermes, Zavagnin on National Soccer Hall of Fame ballot
U.S. Soccer announced the National Soccer Hall of Fame Class of 2012 ballot on Tuesday, with Sporting Kansas City Manager Peter Vermes and Assistant Coach Kerry Zavagnin among the 31 players up for election on the Player ballot. Also appearing are former Kansas City players Jose Burciaga, Jr., Mike Burns, Chris Henderson, Roy Lassiter and Tony Meola.
Vermes represented the United States in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, Korea, and wasnamed 1988 Chevrolet U.S. Male Soccer Athlete of the Year for his efforts. He also starred for the bronze-medal winning U.S. team at the World Five-a-Side Tournament in Holland in 1989, where he was the tournaments leading scorer with six goals.
He was next an integral part of a young U.S. team that qualified for their first World Cup in 40 years and appeared in every U.S. match at the 1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy, where he nearly scored a sensational goal against the host Azzurri. Over the course of eight years with the U.S. Men’s National Team, Vermes earned 66 appearances with 11 goals and three assists.
In 1989 and 1990, Vermes became the first American to play in the Hungarian and Dutch First Divisions, appearing for Raba ETO and FC Volendam, respectively. He later spent five years with Figueras of the Spanish Second Division.
Returning to the United States for Major League Soccer’s inaugural season in 1996, Vermes enjoyed a stellar seven-year career in which he started 208 of 209 MLS games played, including postseason, and recorded 11 goals and 19 assists in more than 18,000 minutes played while playing primarily on the backline.
Vermes arrived in Kansas City in 2000 for what would be the most successful seasons of his MLS career. During his first year in Kansas City, he anchored one of the best defenses in League history and won MLS Defender of the Year, Best XI and MLS All-Star honors in helping lead the then-Wizards to winning the 2000 MLS Cup.
Following his retirement at the end of the 2002 season, Vermes now enters his sixth season as Sporting Kansas City’s technical director and fourth season as manager in 2012.
Zavagnin boasts an 11-year Major League Soccer career in which he appeared in 299 MLS matches, including postseason, with eight goals and 27 assists as a holding midfielder.
He first joined Kansas City in 2000 and was an integral part of the club’s midfield for the next nine seasons, during which time he helped lead the Wizards to MLS Cup (2000) and U.S. Open Cup (2004) Championships. He was named to the MLS All-Star team and the Best XI in 2004.
He played 260 MLS matches, making 251 starts and logging 22,581 minutes for Kansas City, setting team records in all three categories. Zavagnin was named Team Defender of the Year in 2001.
On top of his club success in Kansas City, Zavagnin also appeared 21 times for the United States National Team. The U.S. team went 15-2-4 when Zavagnin appeared.
A teammate of Vermes and Zavagnin in the historic 2000 season, Meola appears on the National Soccer Hall of Fame ballot for the first time in 2012. After arriving in Kansas City in 1999 for the first of six seasons, Meola enjoyed a careeryear in 2000 in which he was named MLS Most Valuable Player and Goalkeeper of the Year to go along with his Best XI selection. He appeared in five MLS All-Star matches and was a two-time team Defender of the Year honoree.
The 11-year MLS veteran started and played 273 MLS matches, including postseason, and posted 106 victories and 68 shutouts in more than 24,000 minutes of action. His 1,136 regular season saves ranks third most in MLS history.
At the international level, Meola appeared in 100 matches for the U.S. Men’s National Team – one of only two goalkeepers to reach the century mark – with 32 shutouts, second most in U.S. history, and 37 wins, third best all-time, to his credit. He appeared in every U.S. match at the 1990 and 1994 FIFA World Cups and was named to the roster for the 2002 FIFA World Cup, as well.
The National Soccer Hall of Fame voting pool includes all Hall of Famers, select soccer administrators and designated media members. 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 Meola and Burciaga, Jr. appear on the ballot for the first time in 2012, this year's Players ballot marks the final appearance for Vermes and Burns. If not elected, the two will move to the Veteran ballot in 2013.
Former Kansas City Managers Bob Gansler (2011) and Ron Newman (1992) were each inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame on the Builders ballot, while former KC players Preki (2010) and Alexi Lalas (2006) were also voted into the Hall of Fame following their prolific playing careers.