Brooklyn-born Joe Machnik is among 10 candidates on the National Soccer Hall of Fame builder’s ballot. (Michael Lewis/ Photo)

There are three familiar names who have influenced soccer from the metropolitan area that are on the National Soccer Hall of Fame builder’s ballot this year.

They include Robert Contiguglia, who grew up in Great Neck, N.Y., former Cosmos head coach Eddie Firmani, who directed the Cosmos to back-to-back North American Soccer League championships in 1977 and 1978, former New York Arrows general manager Tim Leiweke and Joe Machnik, who has worked in every facet of the soccer community (including player, coach, referee, league administrator, commissioner, camp builder and TV commentator at the college, professional and international levels).

They are among 10 individuals selected by a screening committee.

Voters can name up to five builder’s candidates, and the top vote-getter will be elected as long as he or she appears on a minimum of 50 percent of the ballots. If no individual appears on 50 percent of the ballots, then no builder will be elected to the 2017 Class. More than one candidate may be elected in the event of a tie.

Builders must be at least 50-years-old and are eligible by making their mark in the soccer community in a non-playing capacity while sustaining a major and positive impact on American soccer at the national, federation or first division level for at least 10 years. Referees must serve as a FIFA referee for at least seven years to be eligible (although a referee who has less than seven years as a FIFA international referee still can qualify for the list via 10 or more years as a United States first-division referee).

2017 National Soccer Hall of Fame builder ballot

Esse Baharmast

Gene Chyzowych

Robert Contiguglia

Eddie Firmani

Richard Groff

Gordon Jago

Tim Leiweke

Joe Machnik

Francisco Marcos

Kevin Payne

Voting results and induction venue will be announced at a future date.

Front Row Soccer editor Michael Lewis has covered 13 World Cups (eight men, five women), seven Olympics and 25 MLS Cups. He has written about New York City FC, New York Cosmos, the New York Red Bulls and both U.S. national teams for Newsday and has penned a soccer history column for the Lewis, who has been honored by the Press Club of Long Island and National Soccer Coaches Association of America, is the former editor of He has written seven books about the beautiful game and has published ALIVE AND KICKING The incredible but true story of the Rochester Lancers. It is available at