Houston Dynamo legends Brian Ching and Pat Onstad are among the 33 former players nominated for the National Soccer Hall of Fame Class of 2017, U.S. Soccer announced this morning.

Ballots have been finalized for the National Soccer Hall of Fame Class of 2017 elections and voting will begin immediately for the Player, Veteran Player and Builder categories. Voting will continue for three weeks and the results will be announced shortly after. Induction ceremony details for the Class of 2017 will be announced at a later date.

Ching is in his first year of eligibility after retiring following the 2013 season. He is the all-time leading scorer for the Houston Dynamo, with 56 goals in MLS regular-season play and 69 across all competitions, and led the Dynamo to two MLS Cup championships and two additional Eastern Conference titles. Ching won a third MLS Cup with San Jose in 2003. Ching was Man of the Match in the 2006 MLS Cup after scoring the game-tying goal in overtime and converting the winning penalty kick in the decisive penalty shootout.

A native of Haleiwa, Hawaii, Ching was capped 45 times by the U.S. Men’s National Team and scored 11 goals. He was the first Hawaiian to play for the USMNT, and the second Chinese-American to represent his country at the international level. Ching was a member of the 2006 FIFA World Cup squad, and helped lead the United States to victory in the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup, drawing a penalty in the final against Mexico that led to the game-tying goal in a 2-1 USA victory over Mexico.

Onstad was a fixture in goal for the Dynamo during their back-to-back MLS Cup title runs; and it was his save of Jay Heaps’ penalty that sealed the win for the Dynamo. Onstad holds club records for shutouts (37), wins (53), saves (384) and Goals-Against Average (1.15); and his 136 regular-season appearances are the most by a goalkeeper in club history. All told, Onstad made 223 appearances from 2003-2011 for the San Jose Earthquakes, Houston Dynamo and  D.C. United.

A native of Vancouver, British Columbia, Onstad was capped 57 times by the Canadian Men’s National Team during a 22-year international career. He made his senior national team debut on February 18, 1988 against Bermuda and was between the posts for 15 FIFA World Cup Qualifying matches. Following his retirement as a player Onstad has moved to the sideline as a goalkeeper coach for D.C. United, Toronto FC and now Columbus Crew SC.

Other players in their first year of eligibility include the following: 2006 FIFA World Cup participant and 15-year MLS veteran Chris Albright; two-time MLS Cup champion and three-time MLS All-Star David Beckham; 2002 Gold Cup, MLS Cup and MLS Supporters Shield champion Danny Califf; two-time MLS Goalkeeper of the Year and MLS Cup champion Joe Cannon; three-time FIFA World Cup squad member and 14-year U.S. MNT veteran Steve Cherundolo; 2007 Women’s World Cup participant Tina Frimpong Ellertson; 2008 MLS Cup champion Eddie Gaven; seven-year MLS veteran and 2004 MLS Most Valuable Player Amado Guevara; two-time MLS Goalkeeper of the Year and all-time leader in MLS appearances Kevin Hartman; 2002 and 2006 World Cup participant and 2007 and 2007 Gold Cup champion Pablo Mastroeni; 2007 Women’s World Cup participant Leslie Osborne. Also nominated as a Player is former Dynamo assistant coach and New England Revolution great Steve Ralston, who held the MLS record for career assists, appearances, starts, and minutes at the time of his retirement in 2010. 

In order to be eligible for election as a Player, an individual must be retired for at least three full calendar years, but for no more than 10 full calendar years, and have either: 1) Played in at least 20 full international games for the U.S.; if played prior to 1990, the game requirement is reduced to 10 games, or 2) Played at least five seasons in an American first-division professional league and named to a postseason league All-Star team at least once.

The voting pool includes all past and present full Men's and Women's 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 level in the United States, MLS and NWSL management representatives, the MLS and NWSL Commissioners/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.

Of the 33-player ballot, Chris Armas, a member of the U.S. teams that won the CONCACAF Gold Cup in 2002 and 2005, and Jason Kreis, the 1999 MLS leading goal scorer and most valuable player, are in their final year of eligibility.

2017 National Soccer Hall of Fame Player Ballot

  • Chris Albright
  • Chris Armas
  • David Beckham
  • Gregg Berhalter
  • Danny Califf
  • Joe Cannon
  • Steve Cherundolo
  • Brian Ching
  • Jeff Cunningham
  • Tina Frimpong Ellerston
  • Eddie Gaven
  • Amado Guevara
  • Kevin Hartman
  • Frankie Hejduk
  • Chris Klein
  • Jason Kreis
  • Eddie Lewis
  • Kate Sobrero Markgraf
  • Pablo Mastroeni
  • Clint Mathis
  • Tiffeny Milbrett
  • Heather Mitts
  • Jaime Moreno
  • Ben Olsen
  • Pat Onstad
  • Leslie Osborne
  • Steve Ralston
  • Ante Razov
  • Tony Sanneh
  • Briana Scurry
  • Taylor Twellman
  • Aly Wagner
  • Josh Wolff

First year of eligibility

*Final year of eligibility; moves to Veteran ballot in 2018

In addition to the Player ballot, voting will also begin for the Veteran Player and Builder ballots. Fifteen players are up for selection on the Veteran ballot, which is voted on only by current Hall of Famers after the list has been narrowed down by a screening committee.

Voters can name up to five Veteran candidates, and the top vote-getter will be elected as long as he or she appears on a minimum of 50 percent of the ballots. If no individual appears on 50 percent of the ballots, then no Veteran will be elected to the 2017 Class. More than one candidate may be elected in the event of a tie.

In order to be eligible for election as a Veteran, an individual must be retired for more than 10 years, and have either: 1) Played in at least 20 international games for the U.S. This requirement is reduced to 10 games if the games were prior to 1990, or 2) Played at least five seasons in an American first-division professional league and selected as league All-Star at least once, or 3) Played at least five seasons in the MISL between 1984 and the end of the league in 1992, and been selected as a first-team postseason All-Star in at least one of those seasons.

Former Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear is nominated as a Veteran for his playing career, during which he earned 54 caps for the U.S. Men's National Team while playing professionally in Scotland, the U.S., and Mexico.

2017 National Soccer Hall of Fame Veteran Ballot

  • George Best
  • Chico Borja
  • Mike Burns
  • John Doyle
  • Marco Etcheverry
  • Linda Hamilton
  • Mary Harvey
  • Chris Henderson
  • Dominic Kinnear
  • Shep Messing
  • Cindy Parlow
  • Tiffany Roberts
  • Mike Sorber
  • Tisha Venturini-Hoch
  • Roy Wegerle

The 2017 Builder ballot includes ten individuals selected by a screening committee and follows the same procedures for election as the Veteran ballot, although the voting pool is expanded to also include select soccer administrators.

Builders must be at least 50-years-old and are eligible by making their mark in the soccer community in a non-playing capacity while sustaining a major and positive impact on American Soccer at the national, federation or first-division level for at least 10 years. Referees must serve as a FIFA referee for at least seven years to be eligible (although a referee who has less than seven years as a FIFA international referee still can qualify for the list via 10 or more years as a United States first-division referee).

2017 National Soccer Hall of Fame Builder Ballot

  • Esse Baharmast
  • George “Walter” Chyzowych
  • Robert Contiguglia
  • Eddie Firmani
  • Richard Groff
  • Gordon Jago
  • Tim Lieweke
  • Joe Machnik
  • Francisco Marcos
  • Kevin Payne

Complete information about the election and eligibility procedures is available online at ussoccer.com.

The National Soccer Hall of Fame closed its Oneonta, N.Y. facility in 2010. The election process is being administered by U.S. Soccer Federation staff under election and eligibility guidelines established by the Hall of Fame Board of Directors.

Established in 1950, the National Soccer Hall of Fame is dedicated to the sport of soccer in America by celebrating its history, preserving its legacy, inspiring its youth and honoring its heroes for generations to come.