Rapids Alumni Player Marcelo Balboa Elected Into National Soccer Hall of Fame

Denver CO (Colorado Rapids Media Relations) - The National Soccer Hall of Fame (NSHF) announced today that Rapids legend Marcelo Balboa was elected as one of the three inductees this year to the National Soccer Hall of Fame and will be inducted on August 29 in Oneonta NY.

The former Rapids defender and current Soccer Ambassador for the club joined another two U.S. National Team stars and pioneers in the formation of Major League Soccer John Harkes and Tab Ramos in the NSHF’s Class of 2005.

The Rapids also announced that they will host "Marcelo Balboa Hall of Fame Night" in conjunction with the July 23rd Colorado Rapids home game vs. the Chicago Fire at INVESCO Field at Mile High.

Balboa Harkes and Ramos were easily elected in their first years of eligibility. Hall of Fame induction criteria stipulate that a player must be retired for at least three years and each wrapped up their player careers in 2002. Additionally each player easily surpasses the minimum of 20 international games for the United States.

Balboa was a staple of the Colorado Rapids defense from 1996-2001. During his time in the Mile High City the athletically- gifted Balboa made 151 appearances scoring 24 goals and adding 23 assists over his career with the Rapids. Along with teammate Paul Bravo he went down in club history as one of the first two players ever inducted into the Colorado Rapids' Gallery of Honor in an on-field ceremony on July 4 2003.

Balboa made 128 appearances for the U.S. National Team between 1988 and 2000 scoring 13 international goals. However it is probably his bicycle kick attempt that went just wide of the net against Brazil in the 1994 World Cup for which is he most widely remembered. He was also a member of the World Cup squads in 1990 and 1998.

"This is something that you dream about beginning as a young player said Balboa. "When the call comes your first reaction is 'Holy cow!'"

Balboa Harkes and Ramos will be officially inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in a ceremony at the Hall on Aug. 29.

"What a glorious Class of 2005!" NSHF President/CEO Will Lunn said. "These are three players who have truly made a difference to the sport of soccer in America most notably on the field but they have been so very important in the growth of the game on all levels. We look forward to welcoming them to their new home in Oneonta."

All three players were runaway choices in their first year of eligibility for election to the Hall of Fame and form the first all-MLS Hall of Fame class ever. A total of 123 votes were cast an increase of 51 votes over the 2004 election. Election rules state that the top three will be elected if each receives more than 80% of the votes cast.

The top ten results were:

Marcelo Balboa 108 votes 87.80%
Tab Ramos 108 votes 87.80%
John Harkes 107 votes 86.99%
Thomas Dooley 72 votes 58.54%
Hugo Perez 62 votes 50.41%
Peter Vermes 57 votes 46.34%
Carlos Valderrama 54 votes 43.90%
Bruce Murray 42 votes 34.15%
Peter Nowak 32 votes 26.02%
Roy Wegerle 31 votes 25.20%

ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA:

In order to be eligible for election to the Hall of Fame a player must meet criterion #1 and either #2 or #3 of the following three criteria.

No. 1. He or she must have been retired as a player for at least three years but for no more than 10 years (for the 2005 election this means that he or she must have retired no later than 2002 and no earlier than 1995).

No. 2. He or she 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.

No. 3. He or she must have played at least five seasons in an American first-division professional league and won the league championship won the U.S. Open Cup or been a league all-star at least once.

Players who meet either #2 or #3 but who retired more than 10 years ago are eligible for election via the Veterans Committee.

VOTERS:

The following individuals were eligible to vote in the 2005 Hall of Fame Election: -Media selected by the National Soccer Hall of Fame in conjunction with U.S. Soccer Major League Soccer and the Women’s United Soccer Association
-Hall of Famers
-All current and past senior U.S. National Team Coaches
-MLS coaches with at least 4 years tenure as a head coach in the League
-The Secretary General of U.S. Soccer the Commissioner of MLS and the MLS Board of Governors.