US Soccer Hall...of BLAME!; or, Frisco Inferno

First of all, of course, slightly belated congratulations to Brandi Chastain, Shannon MacMillan, and Don Garber.  Wow, I didn't even know Don was on the 1999 World Cup team.

One assumes that Chastain was up there with some of the biggest consensus slam dunks in the Hall's recent history...but one can only assume.  The Hall has not, to my knowledge, vouchsafed the voting percentages yet.  The Hall has also not yet included the Class of 2016 on its site at USsoccer.com yet, either, so we must have patience.

Another person who will, unfortunately, need patience is Briana Scurry.  Grant Wahl called Scurry's continued exclusion "baffling," and Beau Dure was left "bewildered and angry."  They are correct.  Those linked articles try to explain why Scurry has been snubbed.  Without the voting totals, we are flying comparatively blind.

I should probably pause here.  My premise going forward is that Scurry's qualifications are unassailable, and that her continued non-election is the voters' problem, and not Scurry's career.  A properly working electorate would have voted in Scurry a year ago.  If you think Scurry is a borderline choice, and that the votes are going the right way...you're probably not going to enjoy this post very much. 

I don't think a persuasive case can be made for leaving Scurry out of the Hall...but there's nobody making that case, except passively and anonymously.  The electorate for Players as described:

"....all present and former coaches of the Men's and Women's full National Team; all active MLS and NWSL coaches with a minimum of 4 years as head coach in a first division league; MLS and NWSL management representatives; MLS Commissioner; NWSL Executive Director; U.S. Soccer Secretary General; U.S. Soccer President; designated members of the media; all Hall of Famers."

Not everyone on that list votes - the past few years between 90 and 130 ballots have been returned. 

Chandrima's article (linked above) at Women United FC points out with fewer women in the Hall, the electorate is going to skew against female players.  Then there is the fewer number of people who could even qualify as coaches with four years in charge of a first division team - let alone women who could do so.  (Most NWSL coaches are men.)

So it's easy to imagine how a skewed electorate might be the problem here. 

Except, the Veterans Committee elected Shannon MacMillan on the first try. 

That's not unprecedented - Peter Vermes was elected in his first year of Veterans' Committee eligibility, too.  But it's as likely for a player to wait decades as months, and Vermes was hardly the first 1990 men's World Cup team player elected - the Veterans' Committee had elected three other players from the 1990 team already.  The Veterans' Committee had never chosen a woman before.

So it's very interesting to see the Vets choose a woman that the rest of us had snubbed for a decade.  Until this year, I had been convinced that the Hall members themselves were the biggest part of the reason female players had been ignored.  Now, I'm not as certain.

The nearest equivalent to the US Soccer Hall of Fame is the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.  I hate to use Wikipedia, but the Hall's actual website was not helpful in describing their voting procedures.  Long and confusing story short, basketball has a separate voting pool for women and men.  (But not, weirdly, for pros and college.)  This may not be a bad way to go in the future. 

Another option is to disenfranchise - well, it's unusual for other Halls to allow current members, coaches, league officers, and other superdelegates to have a vote.  Of course, I slipped through as a media member, and I'm aware that any reform of the electorate is going to put Comedy Blogger Who Once Did A Five Page Dick Joke About Chicharito under one hell of a microscope.

Yet another option is to get rid of the secret ballots - if you're going to vote, then vote publicly.  I anticipate this suggestion also being met with a recommendation that I perform something anatomically challenging.

And for all I know, Scurry only missed by one vote, so next year she'll stroll in.  Be nice to have those numbers. 

If you're curious, here's who I voted for:

Chris Armas
Brandi Chastain
Frankie Hejduk
Jason Kreis
Kate Markgraf
Tiffeny Milbrett
Jaime Moreno
Pat Onstad
Steve Ralston
Briana Scurry

Oh, yeah - as Beau pointed out, foreign players are getting shafted, too.  Pat Onstad spent years as a dominating keeper for club and country covered under the Hall's purview.  If Pat Onstad spends ten years getting one vote, I apologize for nothing.