Seven former Kansas City Wizards players -- including current Sporting Kansas City head coach Peter Vermes and assistant coach Kerry Zavagnin -- appear on the ballot for the National Soccer Hall of Fame's Class of 2012.
There are 31 total players, including former U.S. Men's national team captain Claudio Reyna, on the ballot for this year. Other notables: Chris Armas, Raul Diaz Arce, Marco Etcheverry, Jason Kries, Joe-Max Moore, Peter Nowak, John O'Brien, Ante Razov and Carlos Valderrama.
The other former KC players are Jose Burciaga Jr., Mike Burns, Chris Henderson, Roy Lassiter and Tony Meola.
For Vermes, this is his last year of eligibility. If he doesn't make it, he'll be moved to the Veterans ballot in 2013. Zavagnin is one of 12 first-timers on the ballot.
The National Soccer Hall of Fame voting pool includes all Hall of Famers, select soccer administrators and designated media members. Each voter can list up to 10 candidates per ballot. Any player appearing in at least 66.7 percent of the ballots will earn election.
Of the seven former Wizards on the ballot, only Meola (in his first-year of eligibility as well) should be considered a lock. He's one of only two U.S. goalkeepers to reach 100 caps. In those 100 matches, Meola posted 37 wins (third-best all-time) and 32 shutouts (second-most in U.S. history). He appeared in every match of the 1990 and 1994 World Cups and was on the roster for the 2002 Cup as well.
In 2000, Meola was the MLS Most Valuable Player, Goalkeeper of the Year and Best XI selection as part of the Kansas City Wizards MLS Cup squad. The 11-year MLS vet started 273 matches (including post-season), with 106 victories and 68 shutouts.
It will be interesting to see how the rest of the candidates fare.
Vermes' accomplishments are impressive enough: He was a member of the '88 Olympic squad, '88 Chevrolet U.S. Male Soccer Athlete of the Year, was the first American to play in the Hungarian and Dutch first devisions, appeared in every match at the '90 World Cup (the first time the U.S. qualified in 40 years), joined MLS during its inaugural season in 1996 and went on to play in 209 MLS games, was the MLS Defender of the Year and helped anchor Kansas City's 2000 MLS Cup.
Zavagnin spent 11 years in MLS appearing in 299 MLS matches (including the post-season) and tallied eight goals and 27 assists. He was part of KC's MLS Cup squad and also an All-Star and Best XI selection during the 2004 season. He was the team's Defender of the Year in 2001. Internationally, Zavagnin earned 21 caps for the U.S. national team.
This is Burciaga's first year of eligibility. Like Vermes, this is the last year of eligibility for Burns.
Former Kansas City managers Bob Gansler ('11) and Ron Newman ('92) were each inducted into the Hall of Fame on the Builders ballot, while former KC players Preki ('10) and Alexi Lalas ('06) were voted into the Hall of Fame following their playing careers.