Nonetheless, Keller is in. The voters got it right. And that is a good thing. Just ask Romario.
Voters should have also elected Briana Scurry and Jaime Moreno, and seriously considered others. Scurry missed by a whisker; Moreno did not come close. More on them later.
The way it works, committee members can vote for up to 10 nominees. Some years, a member may list five or six players they find worthy of induction; other years, they might deem only one. A player who appears on 66.7 percent of the ballots enters the Hall of Fame.
Who is eligible to vote? Jurgen Klinsmann, Jill Ellis and former national team head coaches. All active MLS and NWSL coaches with at least four years of first-division U.S. experience. MLS and NWSL management representatives. MLS Commissioner Don Garber. NWSL Commissioner Jeff Plush. USSF Secretary General Dan Flynn. USSF President Sunil Gulati. All Hall of Famers. Select media members.
The number of eligible voters totals 234. Who turned in their ballot? It’s unclear. The total number of votes and individual voting results are not revealed.
This year’s top 20:
1. Kasey Keller appeared on 95.8 percent of ballots
2. Briana Scurry: 65.6
3. Tiffeny Milbrett: 57.3
4. Shannon MacMillan: 50.0
5. Frankie Hejduk: 41.7
6. Jaime Moreno: 40.6
7. Taylor Twellman: 38.5
8. Steve Ralston: 32.3
9. Jason Kreis: 31.3
10. Kate Markgraf: 30.2
11. Clint Mathis: 29.2
12. Chris Armas: 29.2
13. Ben Olsen: 26.0
14. Eddie Lewis: 19.8
15. Chris Henderson: 18.8
16. Tiffany Roberts: 17.7
17. Robin Fraser: 16.7
18. John O’Brien: 14.6
19. Gregg Berhalter: 14.6
20. Tony Sanneh: 13.5
Remember: This is not a political election where voters cast one vote. They can check off up to 10 names. The consensus was only Keller was deserving.
Just a few additional votes would have gotten Scurry across the finish line. Instead, she will have to wait until 2016, her third try. Her portfolio should have gotten her in by now: 14-year national team career, first in caps for a U.S. goalkeeper (173), second in starts by a U.S. keeper (159), first in victories (133), second in shutouts (71), two Olympic gold medals, a World Cup title and two WUSA championship games.
The majesty of American women’s soccer over 20 years was embodied by the likes of Mia Hamm, Michelle Akers, Kristine Lilly, Abby Wambach, Julie Foudy, Joy Fawcett, Hope Solo … and, quietly and sure-handedly, by Briana Scurry.
Moreno’s cause is hurt by the fact he is not American and did not play for the U.S. national team. This, however, is a Hall of Fame for those who contributed to U.S. soccer as a whole. The elegant Bolivian forward played 15 seasons in MLS and, amid uncertain times for the fledgling circuit, did more to advance the league to where it is today than almost anyone.
Statistics and honors further his case: four MLS Cup titles; third on the regular season scoring chart with 133 goals and sixth in assists with 102 in joining Landon Donovan as the only members of the 100-100 club; 12 goals and 10 assists in the playoffs; and five Best XI selections.
Strong cases can also be made for Frankie Hejduk, the free-spirited winger who played in two World Cups, earned 85 caps and served 12 seasons in MLS wrapped around a stint in Germany, and Tiffeny Milbrett, the 5-foot-2 dynamo who recorded 100 goals (fifth in U.S. history) in 204 international appearances.
Keller was a solid choice. Others deserved to get into the Hall, too. Let’s hope they don’t have to wait much longer.
Top 5 in the veteran players category
(Candidates whose eligibility in the player category expired. One candidate gains entry, provided he or she appeared on 50 percent of the ballots. Only current Hall of Famers vote.)
1. Glenn Myernick: 63.4
2. Cindy Parlow: 53.7
3. Marco Etcheverry: 46.3
4. John Doyle: 41.5
5. Shep Messing and Mike Burns: 39.0
(Off-field contributions. One candidate gains entry, provided he or she appeared on 50 percent of the ballots. Current Hall of Famers and many management officials vote.)
1. Sigi Schmid: 62.7
2. Don Garber: 47.1
3. Francisco Marcos: 47.1
4. Kevin Payne and Bob Contigulia: 39.2
5. Tim Lieweke: 37.3