FRISCO, Texas — The National Soccer Hall of Fame Thursday announced revised election procedures and updated eligibility qualifications for all Players, Veterans and Builders beginning with the Class of 2021.

The revamped process adopted by the organization’s board of directors creates a more engaged and transparent voting process with the goal of providing consistent selection of Players, Veterans and Builders each year.

“Over the past several years, it was apparent the current election process was not allowing us to fully meet our mission of honoring those who have made significant contributions to the game in the United States,” National Soccer Hall of Fame executive director Djorn Buchholz said in a statement. “Since the rebirth of the National Soccer Hall of Fame in Frisco, Texas, we started a thorough evaluation of the election procedures and discussed possible options with our Board of Directors. With these appropriate changes in place prior to voting for the 2021 class, we are looking forward to recognizing deserving Players, Veterans and Builders for many years.”

Screening and voting committees

The main changes to the election procedures begins with the Hall of Fame staff appointing new screening and voting committees for each of the three categories. The committees will be comprised of a diverse list of soccer experts in the United States.

The role of the screening committees is to create the final ballot for consideration for the voting committees and to put forth a list of Players, Veterans and Builders who are most deserving of consideration to be elected to the National Soccer Hall of Fame. The role of the voting committees is to vote on the final ballot to determine who will be elected to the National Soccer Hall of Fame in each cycle.

Each year, the Hall of Fame staff – in consultation with historians – will update, maintain, and create the eligibility lists for all Players, Veterans and Builders who meet the requirements for consideration of election. The Screening Committees will then review the Eligibility Lists that include all qualified individuals and be responsible for narrowing the candidates down to create the final ballots. From there, the voting committees will vote on the individuals to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

The screening and voting committees also allow for a more engaged process as – for the first time – members of both committees will be able to communicate via video or teleconference to have informational discussions on selections.

There will be 18 members on the players screening committee, nine on the veterans screening committee and nine on the builders screening committee. The voting committees will have 48 members on the players committee, 24 on the veterans committee and 24 on the builders committee.

Each of the screening and voting committee members will serve three-year teams, but the initial members will be assigned one-, two- or 3-year terms to ensure that one-third of the committee will be up for renewal each year moving forward.

The target breakdown of the Selection and Voting Committees are as follows:

National Soccer Hall of Fame Members (approximately 33 percent)

Members of the media and soccer historians (approximately 33 percent)

Coaches and Administrators with U.S. Soccer or U.S. first division soccer experience (approximately 33 percent)

Improved transparency

To improve transparency, the Hall of Fame will publish a number of documents around the election process, including: eligibility lists for all three categories, names of the Screening and Voting Committee members, the Final Ballots for all three categories and the Final Ballot election results. While the Hall of Fame will not release Voting Committee members’ individual votes, members may release their ballots publicly if they wish.

Yearly class composition

Moving forward each Hall of Fame class is designed to ideally include three or four individuals, with the typical class composition being:

Player: 2
Veteran: 1
Builder: 1

While an inductee is never guaranteed in any category, the revamped Voting Committee structure provides an improved process for deserving candidates, as those who receive the minimum standard of being named on at least 50% of the respective Voting Committee ballots will be eligible for election. After reaching the 50% threshold, the two players, one veteran, and one builder who receive the highest voting percentages in any cycle will be elected to the NSHOF.

If either a Veteran or a Builder does not receive at least 50% support, the Player who finishes in third place on the Player Final Ballot will be elected if the player receives support from 66.7% of the Player Voting Committee Ballots. For a third player to be elected, all three players must be named on 66.7% of the ballots.

If no Veteran or Builder receives at least 50% support, the Player that finishes in third place on the Player Final Ballot will be automatically elected, if this player also receives the minimum standard (50%) from Player Voting Committee Ballots.

Lastly, the player eligibility has been expanded to create a path for U.S. Extended National Teams programs which currently includes the Men’s and Women’s Para 7-a-Side National Team, the Futsal National Team and the Men’s and Women’s Beach Soccer National Teams.

Revised builder category

The election procedures have also changed for the Builder category, which honors individuals who have made their mark on soccer in a non-playing capacity.

The Builder category will now be broken into separate groups that will be rotated on an annual basis every four years. Depending on the year, only referees, coaches, other contributors – including owners and administrators – will be considered for induction. Every four years, all builders being considered for election.

All Builders will be considered for induction in 2021, but in 2022 only Referees will be considered, in 2023 only coaches will be considered and in 2024 only contributors will be considered. From there, the cycle will begin again with all Builders considered for induction.

Builder Rotation (Four-year cycle)

2021: All Builders
2022: Referee
2023: Coach
2024: Contributor
2025: All Builders
2026: Referee
2027: Coach
2028: Contributor
2029: All Builders

A full breakdown of new National Soccer Hall of Fame eligibility and election rules, can be found here.