Canadians Named To Hall of Fame Ballot

Canadians Bob Lenarduzzi, Bob Iarusci and Bruce Wilson were named among the 27 finalists for 2003 induction into the National Hall of Fame, Tuesday.



“We are recognizing the wonderful legacy of the North American Soccer League in 2003 and all the finalists are NASL Alumni,“ stated Will Lunn, President/CEO. “Over 2,500 players took part in the league from 1967 to 1984. Since the league ceased operations, 12 Players and 10 Builders have been inducted into the Hall of Fame. We believe it important to add to that number to fully recognize the contributions of the NASL to history of soccer in America.“

March 11. 2003, Oneonta, NY) The National Soccer Hall of Fame announced today the 27 finalists for Induction 2003. “We are recognizing the wonderful legacy of the North American Soccer League in 2003 and all the finalists are NASL Alumni,“ stated Will Lunn, President/CEO. “Over 2,500 players took part in the league from 1967 to 1984. Since the league ceased operations, 12 Players and 10 Builders have been inducted into the Hall of Fame. We believe it important to add to that number to fully recognize the contributions of the NASL to history of soccer in America.“



The finalists are:



Carlos Alberto (Brazil), 1977 – 1982, New York Cosmos, California Surf

George Best (Northern Ireland), 1976 – 1981, Los Angeles Aztecs, Fort Lauderdale Strikers, and San Jose Earthquakes

John Best (England/USA), 1967 – 1973, 1974 – 1980, Cleveland Stokers, Dallas Tornado, Seattle Sounders (Coach), Vancouver Whitecaps (GM)

Hubert Birkenmeier (Germany/USA), 1979 – 1984, New York Cosmos

Roberto Cabanas (Paraguay), 1980 – 1984, New York Cosmos

Paul Child (England/USA), 1972 – 1981, Atlanta Chiefs, Atlanta Apollos, San Jose Earthquakes, Memphis Rogues

Mike Connell (South Africa/USA), 1975 – 1984, Tampa Bay Rowdies

Ken Cooper (England/USA), 1970- 1979, Dallas Tornado

Teofilo ‘Nene’ Cubillas (Peru/USA), 1979 – 1983, Fort Lauderdale Strikers

Steve David (Trinidad and Tobago/USA), 1974 – 1981, Miami Toros, Los Angeles Aztecs, Detroit Express, California Surf, San Diego Sockers, San Jose Earthquakes

Andranik Eskandarian (Iran/USA), 1979 – 1984, New York Cosmos

Ron Futcher (England), 1976 – 1984, Minnesota Kicks, Portland Timbers, Tulsa Roughnecks

Karl-Heinz Granitza, (Germany) 1978 – 1984, Chicago Sting

Ray Hudson (England/USA), 1977- 1984, Fort Lauderdale Strikers, Minnesota Strikers

Bob Iarusci (Canada), 1976 – 1984, Toronto Metros, New York Cosmos, Washington Diplomats, San Diego Sockers

Bob Lenarduzzi (Canada), 1974 – 1984, Vancouver Whitecaps

Arnie Mausser (USA), 1975 – 1984, Hartford Bicentennials, Tampa Bay Rowdies, Vancouver Whitecaps, Colorado Caribou, Fort Lauderdale Strikers, New England Tea Men, Jacksonville Tea Men, Team America

Carlos Metidieri (USA), 1968 – 1975, Los Angeles Wolves, Rochester Lancers, Boston Minutemen

Ilija Mitic (Yugoslavia/USA), 1968 – 1978, Oakland Clippers, Dallas Tornado, San Jose Earthquakes

Johan Neeskens (Netherlands), 1979 – 1984, New York Cosmos

Patrick ‘Ace’ Ntsoelengoe (South Africa), 1973 – 1984, Miami Toros, Denver Dynamo, Minnesota Kicks, Toronto Blizzard

Bob Rigby (USA), 1973 – 1984, Philadelphia Atoms, New York Cosmos, Los Angeles Aztecs, Philadelphia Fury, Montreal Manic, Golden Bay Earthquakes

Kyle Rote, Jr. (USA), 1973 – 1979, Dallas Tornado, Houston Hurricane

Bobby Smith (USA), 1973 – 1981, Philadelphia Atoms, New York Cosmos, San Diego Sockers, Philadelphia Fury, Montreal Manic

Al Trost (USA), 1973 – 1979, St. Louis Stars, California Surf, Seattle Sounders

Alan Willey (England/USA), 1976 – 1984, Minnesota Kicks, Montreal Manic, Minnesota Strikers

Bruce Wilson (Canada), 1974 – 1984, Vancouver Whitecaps , Toronto Metros, Chicago Sting, New York Cosmos, Toronto Blizzard



Bob Iarusci: Canadian defender who starred with several different teams during his nine seaons in the North American Soccer League.

Iarusci started his NASL career in 1976 with the Toronto Metros, and then played for Toronto again for part of the 1977 season. He played for the New York Cosmos for part of 1977 and all of ’78, for the Washington Diplomats in 1979 and ’80, the Cosmos again from 1981 to ’83 and the San Diego Sockers in 1984.

Iarusci won NASL championships with Toronto in 1976, a season in which he played every one of the Metros games, and New York in 1978. He was an NASL runner-up with New York in 1981, and a member of the Cosmos squad in

the championship season of 1977. He was chosen as an NASL North American all-star in 1979, ’80, ’81 and ’83, and an honorable mention NASL all-star in 1981.

During his NASL career, Iarusci played 217 NASL regular-season games and 22 NASL playoff games.



Bob Lenarduzzi: Canadian defender-midfielder who played more games in the North American Soccer League than any other man, 312, including 288 in the regular season and 24 in the playoffs. In the course of this achievement, playing in a league dominated by United States-based teams, he probably had more influence on American soccer than any other player ever who wasn’t an American citizen and never played for an American club.

Lenarduzzi’s entire 11-season NASL career, from 1974 to 1984. was spent in his hometown with the Vancouver Whitecaps. He played in 35 games in the Whitecaps’ championship season of 1979 and more than 30 in five other seasons. Although primarily a defensive player, he did score 33 NASL goals. Lenarduzzi was an NASL North American all-star in 1978, ’79, ’81, ’82 and ’84.

Lenarduzzi won 47 full international caps for Canada. He played for Canada in both the 1984 Olympic Games and the 1986 World Cup finals, and was Canada’s national-team coach from 1992 to ’97. He played two seasons in the Major Indoor Soccer League.



Bruce Wilson: A Canadian defender for several North American Soccer League teams who was one of the best North American players in the NASL’s history.



Wilson was a stay-at-home style of defender. Although his 299 games (276 regular season and 23 playoff) rank him second only to fellow Canadian Bob Lenarduzzi in NASL appearances, he scored only eight NASL goals. He played 11 seasons in the NASL, 1974-77 with the Vancouver Whitecaps, 1978 and ’79 with the Chicago Sting, 1980 with the New York Cosmos and 1981-84 with the Toronto Blizzard. He played at least 20 games in each of those seasons.



Wilson was an NASL all-star six times. Three of those were first-team selections, in 1977, when he was with Vancouver, 1979, when he was with Chicago, and 1984, when he was with Toronto. He also was an NASL North American all-star in 1979, ’82, ’83 and ’84. He was a member of the squad when New York won the NASL championship in 1980, and was runner-up in both 1983 and ’84 with Toronto.



Wilson was one of the best players Canada has ever produced and was capped 51 times. He played for Canada in the 1984 Olympic Games and the 1986 World Cup, in which he captained the Canadian team. In 1998, he was the lone Canadian player elected to a CONCACAF “team of the century.”



The election of Hall of Famers in 2003 is being completed by a special committee consisting of already inducted NASL Hall of Famers and selected media who covered the league in its heyday. Of the 25 finalists, the up to 7 will become Hall of Famers. Announcement of the Hall of Fame Class of 2003 is expected in June.



Selection for NASL Builders is also underway. Finalists will be announced in late March with the results being announced at the same time as the players’ announcement.



Induction weekend will be October 10-13, 2003 in Oneonta, NY. Final plans for Induction Weekend 2003 will be released when the Class of 2003 is announced.



The National Soccer Hall of Fame, located in Oneonta, NY, opened a new 40,000 sq.ft., state-of-the-art museum in 1999. The new Hall of Fame tells the story of soccer in America and features World Cup as well as greatest moments in international soccer. The new Hall features an extensive interactive, youth oriented Kicks Zone where visitors have fun kicking, heading and playing computer trivia stations and video soccer games. The VideoWall features greatest moments and greatest goals as well as live soccer action with World Cup, MLS, US Soccer and WUSA matches. Unique and rare artifacts on exhibition range from the world’s oldest soccer ball to the Women’s World Cup won by the USA in 1999. Pele’s and Mia Hamm’s uniforms, Kristine Lilly’s golden shoes, NASL championship rings, MLS championship trophy, WUSA gallery – it’s all at the National Soccer Hall of Fame. In addition to the interactive Museum, the National Soccer Hall of Fame complex boasts the Kicks Hall of Fame Museum Store, a research library, four world class soccer fields and office/meeting facilities. The Hall plans to add a stadium, an indoor soccer arena and housing facilities by 2006. For additional information contact Jack Huckel at the National Soccer Hall of Fame 607/ 432-3351 ext. 209.



“The mission of the National Soccer Hall of Fame is to Celebrate the History, Honor the Heroes, Inspire the Youth, and Preserve the Legacy of the game of Soccer.”



Jack Huckel

Director of Museum Services

National Soccer Hall of Fame



“Where Soccer Legends Live!”



Oneonta, NY 13820

Ph: 607/432-3351 x209

FAX: 607/432-8429




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