Chris Armas was the best men’s defensive midfielder of his generation in the USA. (FrontRowSoccer.com Photo)
The veteran ballot for the National Soccer Hall of Fame certainly has an indoor and local flavor to it.
Red Bulls head coach Chris Armas and former New York Arrows standouts Steve Zungul and Shep Messing were among the dozen finalists that were among the candidates on the 2020 ballot, which was announced on Wednesday afternoon.
Armas forged a reputation as the finest defensive midfielder with the LA Galaxy and Chicago Fire in MLS and on the U.S. men’s national team in his generation.
Besides being teammates and members of four consecutive Arrows championship teams in the Major Arena Soccer League, Messing and Zungul found success in the North American Soccer League. Messing played for the Cosmos, Oakland Stompers and Rochester Lancers outdoors, while Zungul filled the net for the San Jose Earthquakes.
The veteran ballot (in alphabetical order)
Slavisa “Steve” Zungul*
* First year of eligibility
Voting for the 2020 will begin on Wednesday, March 18.
Players new to the ballot this year include U.S. National Team alumni Frank Klopas (1988-95) and Taylor Twellman (2002-08); MLS Best XI selection Marco Etcheverry (1996, 97, 98 & 99); and All-MISL first team selection Zungul (1985, 86 and 87).
In order to be eligible for election as a veteran, an individual must be a retired player for more than 10 full calendar years and have either: 1) Played in at least 20 full international games for the U.S.; if played prior to 1990, the game requirement is reduced to 10 games, or 2) Played at least five seasons in an American first-division professional league and named to a postseason league all-star team at least once, or 3) Played at least five seasons in the MISL between 1984-1992 and been named a postseason league All Star at least once.
The veteran ballot will be voted on by current Hall of Famers who can select up to five 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 veteran will be elected to the 2020 Class. More than one candidate may be elected in the event of a tie.