Edu, Onyewu, Pearce headline first-year eligible players for Hall of Fame

Edu, Onyewu, Pearce headline first-year eligible players for Hall of Fame

The National Soccer Hall of Fame announced the latest individuals eligible for the player Class of 2021, with several former U.S. Men’s National Team players among the nominees.

Maurice Edu, Oguchi Onyewu, and Christie Pearce headline the list of players who enter their first year of eligibility. Also in their first year are Brittany Taylor, Sebastian Le Toux, Javier Morales, and Victor Bernardez.

Edu played 10 professional seasons which included stops at Scottish side Rangers. English Premier League club Stoke City, and MLS teams Toronto FC and Philadelphia Union. The former University of Maryland player made 46 appearances for the USMNT during his career.

Onyewu totaled 69 caps with the USMNT during his lengthy career, winning two Concacaf Gold Cups in 2005 and 2007. The center back spent majority of his pro career with Belgian side Standard Liege, but also appeared for Sheffield Wednesday, Philadelphia Union, and Sporting Lisbon.

Pearce is a lifelong legend for the USWNT, making 311 appearances over her career and winning three Olympic Gold Medals along with two World Cups. The centerback is also on the nomination list along with former teammate Lauren Holiday.

Boswell spent his entire 15-year career in MLS, totaling 366 league appearances between two stints at D.C. United, Houston Dynamo, and Atlanta United. The defender also appeared three times for the USMNT.

The Hall of Fame also released its new Selection Committee, which was established as part of 2020 election revisions, for the first time. The committees begin deliberations this week to select a three-or four-member Class of 2021 from the 245 candidates who appear on the Player, Veteran and Builder ballots.

Each voter will select 10 candidates and any player receiving 66.7% or higher will earn their place in the Hall of Fame. Players receiving less than five percent will be removed from contention until they are eligible for the veteran ballot.

All individuals need to be retired from playing for three calendar years, but no more than ten in order to be eligible for the player ballot. Players will also need to have either of the two following categories: 1) Having played in at least 20 full international games for the United States. 2) Having played at least five seasons in an American first-division professional league. Players also need to be named to a postseason league all-star team at least once.

New voting rules will also see an 18-member Player Screening Committee, which will narrow the list of candidates to a final ballot of 20 players, which will go to the full 48-member Player Voting Committee. Each voter can select up to10 candidates; players named to the most ballots gain election as follows:

If both a Veteran and a Builder are being elected, the top two vote earners from the Player ballot also will be elected.
If either a Veteran or a Builder are not being elected, the top three vote-earning Players will be elected if all three received at least 66.7% of the Voting Committee’s votes.
If neither a Veteran nor a Builder are being elected, the top three vote-earning Players will be elected if all three received at least 50% of the Voting Committee’s votes.
A Player must be named to at least 50% of Voting Committee ballots to be eligible.

The 2021 Hall of Fame ceremony is scheduled for May 22 and will enshrine both the 2020 class (Carlos Bocanegra and Colin Jose Media Award Winner Andrés Cantor) and the 2021 class.