Carlos Metidieri (right) during a publicity photo with Mickey Mouse back in the day.
By Michael Lewis
El Topolino is back on the ballot.
Former Rochester Lancers forward Carlos Metidieri, the only player in North American Soccer League history to win back-to-back MVP and scoring championships in the original incarnation of the league, is eligible for the National Soccer Hall of Fame again.
U.S. Soccer CEO and secretary general Dan Flynn has confirmed that the Brazilian native will be eligible again for the Veterans Ballot for the 2019 election.
In a Nov. 6 letter to Al Schneider, the CEO and chairman of the New York Sports Congress Limited, Flynn wrote that Metidieri had been on the Veterans Eligibility List from 2000 to 2013. Metidieri was removed from the list in 2013 for having gone eight consecutive elections without having been a finalist, according to Flynn.
“However, there is a provision that allows for a person to be reinstated if a request is received on behalf of a candidate,” Flynn wrote. “Your letter serves as such a request; there, Mr. Metidieri will be reinstated to the Veterans Eligibility List for the 2019 National Soccer Hall of Fame election.”
Nicknamed El Topolino (Little Mouse) because of his size, the 5-4 Metidieri combined his speed and skills to confound defenders and goalkeeper for years.
Metidieri led the Lancers to the 1970 NASL title, scoring 14 goals and assisting on seven others in 23 games. In 1971, Metidieri enjoyed a more productive season, registering 19 goals and eight assists in 24 matches. The Lancers did not win the NASL title that year, but Metidieri scored an historic goal, ending the longest game in NASL history, a 176-minute marathon in the playoffs.
He also was the top goal-scorer and MVP of the Eastern Canadian Professional Soccer League in 1965 and 1966. Metidieri also played for the Boston Rovers (United Soccer Association) and the Los Angeles Wolves and Boston Minutemen (both NASL) and with the Buffalo Stallions (Major Indoor Soccer League).
Now 74, Metidieri lives in Gilbert, Ariz.
In October, Schneider wrote to U.S. Soccer asking for the inclusion of former Lancers owner Charles A. Schiano and Metidieri in the NSHOF.
In his letter, Flynn replied that Schiano already was on the Builders Eligibility list for the Hall. Schiano has received votes in the first round of voting, but never enough to be included in the final round, Flynn said.
“His name will remain on the Builders Eligibility list as a candidate, but it will be up to the voters to determine if he is ultimately selected to the Hall,” Flynn wrote.
Schneider shared the letter with FrontRowSoccer.com.