Los Angeles Soccer: Desmond Armstrong

Meola and Reyna make the Hall

February, 29, 2012

No surprises at all in Tuesday’s National Soccer Hall of Fame announcement. Tony Meola and Claudio Reyna, two slam-dunk picks, were voted in, and nobody else got the votes.

Meola, a starter at the 1990 and 1994 World Cups, is one of the four great goalkeepers in modern U.S. Soccer history -- along with future inductees Kasey Keller, Brad Friedel and Tim Howard.

Reyna, a U.S. starter at the 1998, 2002 and 2006 World Cups (and an injured teen on the roster in 1994), is arguably the most important U.S. field player before Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey.

Former U.S. defender Desmond Armstrong, who played at the 1990 World Cup and was the final player cut from the 1994 roster, was voted in by the Veterans Committee, and 1999 U.S. Women’s World Cup coach Tony DiCicco, whose accomplishments are merely topped by that iconic triumph, made it in as a Builder. The induction ceremony is expected for mid- to late summer.

The Hall itself is alive merely in archives -- the building, in Oneonta, N.Y., closed two years ago -- and it would be nice to see it reestablished. My thoughts are that it belongs in Chicago (home of U.S. Soccer), Los Angeles (home to the national team for most of the past two decades and one of the hotbeds of the sport), St. Louis (the most historically important city in the sport’s early development) or Portland (probably the most rabid soccer town in America. Sorry, Seattle).

It’s worth noting that Bob Bradley (former U.S. coach, of course, based in Manhattan Beach when in America) finished fourth in the Builder vote and Torrance’s Sigi Schmid (the Seattle Sounders’ coach, formerly in charge at UCLA and with the Galaxy) was sixth.

It’s a shame Meola and Reyna were the only selections from the Player Ballot. Only Marco Etcheverry and Joe-Max Moore also received more than half of the votes, and neither hit 60 percent. The threshold for induction is 66.7 percent.

Voters are allowed as many as 10 votes, and I used all 10 of mine. Here is who I voted for and why.

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