The National Soccer Hall of Fame released its annual list of eligible names for selection to the Hall of Fame’s Class of 2021.
Several names on the various lists have ties to Real Salt Lake including Javier Morales, Jeff Cunningham, Chris Klein and Pablo Mastroeni.
The Hall of Fame also released the new Selection Committee, which was established as part of 2020 election revisions, for the first time. The committees begin deliberations this week to select a three- or four-member Class of 2021 from the 245 candidates who appear on the Player, Veteran and Builder ballots.
The 2021 Hall of Fame ceremony is scheduled for May 22 and will enshrine both the 2020 class (Carlos Bocanegra and Colin Jose Media Award Winner Andrés Cantor) and the 2021 class. The ceremony will take place in the National Soccer Hall of Fame, which is powered by NEC, followed by the Hall of Fame game between FC Dallas and an opponent TBD and a concert featuring Willie Nelson.
Morales enters his first year of eligibility having played a standout career in MLS with RSL and FC Dallas. For RSL, Morales featured in 240 regular season contests, 217 of which were starts while scoring 49 goals for the Utah club. Morales also holds RSL’s all-time assists record having contributed 81 assists from 2007 to 2016 on the Wasatch Front.
Morales currently works as an Academy Coach for Inter Miami CF.
Current RSL Assistant Coach Pablo Mastroeni moved to the Veteran Ballot for induction to the 2021 National Hall of Fame after entering his first year of eligibility in 2020. He joins Chris Klein, Jason Kreis, Greg Vanney, Richie Williams, Clint Mathis, and Robin Fraser on the Veteran Ballot as players with ties to RSL.
In order to be eligible for election as a Player, an individual must be retired for at least three full calendar years, but for no more than 10 full calendar years, and have either:
· Played in at least 20 full international games for the U.S. Men’s National Team, Women’s National Team or Extended National Teams (Paralympic, Beach & Futsal).
· Played at least five seasons in an American first-division professional league and been named to a postseason league All-Star team at least once.
New voting rules and procedures take effect this year to provide more consistency in the screening of candidates and within voting pools. An 18-member Player Screening Committee 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 to 10 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.
For more details on the National Soccer Hall of Fame’s eligible candidates, visit its website here.