Weighing Peter Vermes' case for the U.S. soccer hall of fame
03/13/2013 12:54 PM
05/16/2014 9:29 PM
Voting for the National Soccer Hall of Fame Class of 2013 wrapped up Feb. 22, so an announcement about the inductees should be coming any day.
It's unlikely Sporting Kansas City manager/technical director Peter Vermes will be voted in, but he is on the Veteran Ballot and many within the club believe he merits strong consideration.
We asked Sporting Club CEO Robb Heineman to lay out the case for Vermes' Hall of Fame candidacy.
"Peter was one of the first U.S. players to really star and break into Europe," Heineman said. "I think he was a trailblazer in that regard.
"He's a phenomenal player and the fact he was able to switch positions and still play at such a high level is incredible. Now, the things that he's doing in coaching are, frankly, revolutionary in this country."
During his last season on the Players ballot, Vermes received 35.29 percent of the vote, which was roughly half of the 2/3 vote needed to earn induction. On the Veterans ballot, which is voted on by current Hall of Famers, the threshold is 50 percent for the top vote-getter.
"I really don't think about it," Vermes said. "I've maintained my statement all along: If I was picked, I would be extremely respectful and honored, but those aren't things I've ever used to measure my career or anything I've ever done."
Vermes grew up in New Jersey and went on to star at Rutgers, where he scored 89 goals with 19 assists and was a first-team All-American.
He also starred for the U.S. Olympic men's soccer team and was named the U.S. soccer player of the year in 1988
Vermes, who started his professional career as a striker, was an integral piece for a young U.S. squad that ended a 40-year drought by qualifying for the 1990 World Cup in Italy, where he appeared in all three games for the U.S.
He finished an eight-year national team career with 11 goals and three assists in 66 appearances.
Vermes was the first U.S. player to play in the Hungarian first division for Rabo ETO and the Dutch Eredivisie for FC Volendam. He also spent five seasons with Figueras in Spain's second division before returning to the U.S. for the inaugural MLS season in 1996.
Vermes played in 209 games, including 208 starts, during a seven-year MLS career. He logged most of his 18,000 minutes on the back line after moving from forward.
Arriving in Kansas City in 2000, Vermes anchored a three-man back line that keyed the then-Wizards' run to the MLS Cup. He was named MLS Defender of the Year and Best XI and also earned an All-Star nod that season.
Vermes retired after the 2002 season and now enters his seventh season as technical director and fifth as manager with Sporting KC.
"Peter absolutely deserves it, and he'll get there at some point," Heineman said.
Former Kansas City Managers Bob Gansler (2011) and Ron Newman (1992) were each inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame on the Builders ballot, while former KC players Tony Meola (2012), Preki (2010) and Alexi Lalas (2006) were also voted into the Hall of Fame following their prolific playing careers.
The 2013 ballot also includes former Wizards Chris Henderson and Roy Lassiter, who's in his final year of eligibility, on the Players ballot as well as Mike Burns and Mike Sorber on the Veteran ballot.
To reach Tod Palmer, call 816-234-4389 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at twitter.com/todpalmer.
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