For the first time, inaugural Vancouver Whitecaps FC captain Jay DeMerit is eligible for induction into the National Soccer Hall of Fame, U.S. Soccer announced today.
DeMerit is one of nine Class of 2018 nominees in their first year of eligibility, including 1998 FIFA World Cup champion and three-time MLS All-Star Thierry Henry.
To be eligible for selection in the Player category, an individual must have been retired for at least three full calendar years, but for no more than 10 full calendar years AND meet one of the following criteria:
- A player must have played at least 20 full international games for the United States. This 20-game requirement is reduced to 10 games if the games were prior to 1990.
- A player must have played at least five seasons in an American first-division professional league and been a postseason league all-star at least once.
- Played at least five seasons in the Major Indoor Soccer League between the end of the NASL in 1984 and the end of the MISL in 1992 and been selected as a first-team postseason all-star in at least one of those seasons.
DeMerit became Whitecaps FC’s first Major League Soccer signing on November 18, 2010 after spending six seasons with Watford FC, where he is remembered for scoring the match-winning goal in the 2005-06 Championship playoff final over Leeds United FC.
In total, the inaugural MLS club captain made 77 appearances in all competitions and helped Vancouver to their first-ever MLS Cup Playoff match in 2012. He was also the first Whitecaps FC player to represent the club at the MLS All-Star Game.
Internationally, DeMerit earned 25 official caps with the U.S. men's national team. Despite suffering a serious eye injury just months prior, the American centre back started all four of his country’s matches at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa and helped the U.S. finish first in their group for the first time since 1930. DeMerit was also a member of the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup winning side and helped the U.S. reach the finals of the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup.
Voting for the National Soccer Hall of Fame Class of 2018 will begin Monday, March 12 and run through Monday, March 26.
The voting committee includes all past and present Men's and Women's full National Team coaches, all active MLS and NWSL head coaches with a minimum of four years of experience as a head coach at the highest professional level in the United States, MLS and NWSL management representatives, the MLS Commissioner and NWSL Executive Director, U.S. Soccer CEO/Secretary General, U.S. Soccer President, designated media members and all Hall of Famers.
Each voter can select up to 10 candidates per ballot. Any player appearing on at least 66.7 percent of ballots will earn election, while any player who does not appear on at least five percent of ballots will be removed from voting contention until they qualify for the Veteran ballot.
2018 National Soccer Hall of Fame Player Ballot
Juan Pablo Angel*
Kate Sobrero Markgraf
*First year of eligibility
**Final year of eligibility; moves to Veteran ballot in 2019