Galaxy legend Cobi Jones, the most-capped player in U.S. national team history, could be, should be (OK, will be) inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame this summer.
Jones, who played 164 times for the U.S. and spent 15 seasons with the Galaxy, as player and coach, before taking a position last month with the New York Cosmos, makes his initial appearance this year on the ballot, which arrived in voters' e-mail boxes Thursday.
He's a slam dunk. So is former U.S. national team backline anchor Eddie Pope, also among six newcomers on the eligibility list.
Others making their first appearances are Chivas USA assistant coach Carlos Llamosa, former Galaxy midfielder Chris Armas, Real Salt Lake head coach Jason Kreis and former U.S. women's standout Danielle Slaton. Armas, among the four, is the best bet for first-year induction, although it is more likely one or more of 18 holdover join Jones (Westlake Village/Westlake HS and UCLA) and Pope in the class.
Our first choice among the holdovers: Dutch-born former U.S. star Earnie Stewart.
Others holdovers include Chivas USA head coach (and former Galaxy defender) Robin Fraser, former Galaxy midfielder Mauricio Cienfuegos, former UCLA standout (and Seattle Sounders technical director) Chris Henderson, and two local players: former U.S. national team stars Joe-Max Moore (Irvine/Mission Viejo HS and UCLA) and John O'Brien (Playa del Rey/Brentwood School).
Others on the player ballot: Sporting Kansas City head coach Peter Vermes, Philadelphia Union head coach Peter Nowak, New England Revolution VP of player personnel Mike Burns, former U.S. national-teamer Steve Trittschuh, former MLS stars Raul Diaz Arce, Marco Etcheverry, Roy Lassiter and Carlos Valderrama, indoor legend Victor Nogueira, and former U.S. women's national-teamers Shannon MacMillan, Cindy Parlow, Tiffany Roberts and Tisha Venturini-Hoch.
The 10 names before the veterans committee include San Jose Earthquakes GM John Doyle and the late, great George Best, who spent a little time with the old L.A. Aztecs; Seattle Sounders coach Sigi Schmid (Torrance/Bishop Montgomery HS and UCLA) is one of seven men up for consideration by the builders committee.
Votes are due in by March 11 and results will be announced in early spring.