February 29, 2012
By Michael Lewis
HAVING A HALL OF A TIME
Meola, Reyna elected into Soccer Hall Fame, along with Armstrong, DiCicco
It should not come as any surprise that two stalwarts of the U.S. National Team and former Red Bulls players, Claudio Reyna and Tony Meola, were elected to the National Soccer Hall of Fame.
|Claudio Reyna was named on 96 percent of the ballots in the Hall of Fame voting.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
Their careers have been well documented.
What is astounding is how much they support they received.
Reyna wound up on an amazing 96 percent of the ballots while Meola was close behind at 90 percent.
They were joined by former U.S. international Desmond Armstrong on the veteran ballot and Tony DiCicco on the builder ballot. Armstrong was cast on nearly 54 percent of the veteran ballots and DiCicco was named on 61 percent of the builder ballots.
The Class of 2012 induction ceremony will likely be scheduled for this summer. Details will be announced at a later date.
Reyna, U.S. Soccer's youth technical director, played with the Red Bulls from 2007-08 season, retiring from the game as a player midway through the 2008 Major League Soccer season.
He also was a member of the U.S. National Team from 1994-2006 and was a member of four World Cup teams. He made 112 appearances while recording eight goals and 19 assists. Reyna also played for Premier League sides Manchester City and Sunderland and the Scottish Premier League's Glasgow Rangers.
"It's an incredible honor to be inducted into the Hall of Fame," Reyna said in a press release. "Soccer has been my life from the moment I could walk. You don't think or play for these type of recognitions but it is a tremendous honor and I want to thank my former teammates, former coaches and everybody else close to me, especially my family, who supported me - from those who drove me all over as a youth player to my wife and children who have been here my whole career. From a player's standpoint, it kind of caps things off for me, so it's definitely an honor and something that I'm proud of."
An original member of the New York/New Jersey MetroStars, Meola was a member of three U.S. World Cup teams, serving as the team's No. 1 goalkeeper at the 1990 and 1994 World Cups and as a reserve in 2002. He backstopped the U.S. into its first World Cup in 40 years, when it defeated Trinidad & Tobago in Port of Spain on Nov. 19, 1989.
During his 12-year international career (between 1988 and 2006), Meola earned 100 caps and recored 32 shutouts (second all-time behind Kasey Keller), while recording 37 victories.
Meola's finest MLS season was in 2000 with the Kansas City Wizards, when he helped the team to the MLS Cup and winnings cup and regular-season honors and goalkeeper of the year as well.
"It's certainly the greatest honor you can have in your chosen profession, to be mentioned in the same breath as the great people that were before you and one day the great ones that will come after you," Meola said in a statement. "I'm certainly humbled and I'm honored, and I'm thrilled to think that somebody actually thought I was worthy of it."
Armstrong made 81 international appearances and 73 starts from 1987-1994. His 2,128 minutes in 1993 rank second all-time for one year behind only fellow 1993 defender Mike Lapper (2,205). He played in all three matches at Italia '90.
DiCicco directed the USA to the 1996 Olympic gold medal and the 1999 Women's World Cup crown. He guided the team to a record 103 wins in 119 games from 1994-99.