Indoor Soccer Hall of Fame Announces Inaugural Class
10/4/11 – The Indoor Soccer Hall of Fame and its blue ribbon selection committee today announced the 12 members that will make up the 2011 inaugural Hall of Fame class.
Voting was conducted by the committee over the last month. With so many choices the voters found little consensus. Perhaps appropriately only one recipient was a unanimous choice on all 21 ballots and that was original MISL founder and commissioner Earl Foreman, who launched the modern era of indoor soccer in 1978.
Joining Foreman are eight players and three coaches, including three members of the Hall of Fame committee, Kenny Cooper, Ron Newman, and Kim Roentved. An adjusted formula was used to allow members to withdraw from voting for themselves.
Members of the selection committee include National Soccer Hall of Famers Newman and Al Miller, legendary Baltimore Blast Head Coach Cooper, longtime Dallas Sidekicks Head Coach and former World Indoor Soccer League Commissioner Gordon Jago, and current MISL coaches Keith Tozer and Roentved.
Six of the 12 inductees came from the San Diego Sockers, who won 10 championships in 11 years from 1981-1992. Coach Newman, joined Steve Zungul, Branko Segota, Kevin Crow, Juli Veee and Victor Nogueira from those famous Sockers teams.
Roentved, the late Stan Stamenkovic, and Tatu were also first ballot players, along with coach Don Popovic.
The induction subcommittee agreed on a formula that would require 12 votes for induction this season. Just missing the cut were Preki (11 votes), Kai Haaskivi (10), Zoltan Toth (9), Mike Stankovic (8), and Slobo Ilijevski and Hector Marinaro (7 each).
Teams from the Major Indoor Soccer League and Professional Arena Soccer League will have the ability to honor their alumni on designated Hall of Fame Nights throughout the season.
2011 INDOOR SOCCER HALL OF FAME CLASS
Earl Foreman (21 votes) – Foreman co-founded the MISL in 1978 with Ed Tepper and served as commissioner until 1985 and returned for a second stint from 1989-1992. Foreman, a lawyer-turned-sportsman, previously had ownership at various times in the Baltimore Bullets, Philadelphia Eagles, and Oakland Oaks/Washington Caps/Virginia Squires (ABA). Under Foreman’s leadership the MISL blossomed into a 14 team league averaging 9,000 a game with nationally televised games on ESPN and CBS.
Steve Zungul (20) – Known as The Lord of All Indoors, Zungul set just about every indoor soccer scoring record during his 11 year career. Zungul was to indoor soccer what Wayne Gretzky was to hockey. In 423 games he scored 652 goals, 471 assists and 1,123 points. He added another 189 points in 77 playoff games en route to winning eight championships with the New York Arrows and San Diego Sockers. Amongst his most impressive feats are his 108 goal season in 1980-81, a 76-game point scoring streak from 1978-81, and scoring three goals in 37 seconds in a game in 1982. He was named MISL MVP a record six times.
Branko Segota (20) – Often overshadowed by Zungul, Segota was the second all-time leading scorer in the MISL and won nine MISL championships with New York and San Diego and also won a 10th with the Las Vegas Dustdevils of the Continental Indoor Soccer League. Segota scored 463 goals, 378 assists for 841 points in 403 MISL games. He also played with the St. Louis Storm and Baltimore Spirit. He was born in what is now Croatia, but represented Canada in the 1986 World Cup.
Tatu (19) – Antonio Carlos Pecorari, known as Tatu, or sometimes the Fantastic Armadillo, was the face of the Dallas Sidekicks for two decades. Playing for Gordon Jago on the Tampa Bay Rowdies, Tatu began his famous custom of throwing his shirt into the crowd after every goal he scored. In 1984 he followed Jago to Dallas where he remained as a player and eventually a coach until 2003. Tatu won four championships with the Sidekicks, was third on the all-time MISL scoring list and second in the history of indoor soccer in points. Tatu’s popularity was important to the growth of indoor soccer and the long-time success of the Sidekicks. Tatu played one season for the Wichita Wings while the Sidekicks were transitioning from the MISL to the CISL.
Stan Stamenkovic (16) – Stan “The Magician” was perhaps the most skilled ballhandler in the history of indoor soccer. It was not uncommon to see Stamenkovic dribble through three players and then score one of his patented backheel goals. At 6′, 200lbs. Stamenkovic wasn’t a physical specimen, but defensive double teams could rarely contain him. Stamenkovic led the Blast to the 1984 MISL championship as the regular season MVP and playoff leading scorer. Three times Stamenkovic was voted as MVP of the MISL All-Star Game. Stan was 10th all-time in MISL scoring (542 points) despite just playing in 256 games. His career began in Memphis and he attempted a brief comeback with the San Jose Grizzlies. Less than two years later, on January 26, 1996, Stamenkovic tragically died in a fall at the age of 39.
Kevin Crow (13) – The only American born player in this year’s class, Crow was the Sockers steady man in the back. Crow played 10 seasons with the Sockers, and won eight championships, five Defender of the Year awards, and was a six-time All-MISL First Team defender. He played 433 regular season games for the Sockers and earned 13 caps with the US National Team.
Victor Nogueira (12) – The ageless goalkeeper from Mozambique enjoyed a career that spanned the NASL, MISL, and NPSL over parts of four decades before retiring at 45. Nogueira won 12 Goalkeeper of the Year awards, four MVP awards, and seven championships with the Sockers and Milwaukee Wave. Nogueira won 166 games in the MISL with Chicago, Cleveland, and San Diego and was the Wave’s all-time wins leader with 227. He held the MISL records for wins in a season (31) and GAA (2.86).
Kim Roentved (12) – Kim “the Rocket” was the highest scoring defender in MISL history. Roentved scored 504 points in 494 MISL regular season games with the Wichita Wings and Kansas City Comets. He played another 237 games in the NPSL with 124 goals and 189 assists giving 817 career points. Roentved was selected to play in a record 14 All-Star Games and was twice named the MISL Defender of the Year and once earned the same honor in the NPSL.
Juli Veee (12) – “Double deuce and triple E, the one and only Juli Veee” made an indelible mark on the Arrows and Sockers. Veee, born Gyula Visnyei, played just nine seasons indoor, but won six championships and scored 602 points in 263 MISL and NASL Indoor games. Veee was named MVP of the 1983 Championship and played in three All-Star Games. He earned four caps with the US National Team after becoming a US citizen.
Ron Newman (18) – A member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame, Newman cemented his reputation by leading the Sockers to 10 titles in 11 years. His career record with the Sockers and Arizona Sandsharks was 371-223. In the MISL years his teams only lost one playoff series in nine years and carried an 80-37 playoff record. Newman only won the 1987-88 MISL Coach of the Year award, a surprising stat given that he was able to overcome adversity year after year to guide the Sockers to title after title. Newman also revolutionized how the game was played, adapting the sixth attacker, super power play and streamlined substitution techniques that put the Sockers on the cutting edge.
Kenny Cooper (17) – Though Cooper began his indoor coaching career with the Houston Summit and ended with the Tampa Bay Terror, he will forever be recognized as the beloved coach of the Baltimore Blast. Cooper guided the Blast to five championship appearances, winning once in 1984. Cooper compiled a career record of 416-321, was the 1988-89 MISL Coach of the Year, and the MISL’s all-time leader in wins. His impact on the bench was undeniable, but as an ambassador for the game he helped move the Summit to Baltimore and blossom as a franchise. Cooper not only sustained the Blast’s popularity, but was instrumental in finding new ownership when the MISL folded. His legacy lives on as Baltimore has maintained an indoor team for 32 years.
Don Popovic (13) – Popovic and his New York Arrows were the most dominant team in MISL history. They won the first four championships compiling a 114-26 record. Much of the success of the San Diego Sockers derived from the core group that originated in New York. Popovic would coach six MISL teams and never duplicated what his Arrows did, but found success in Las Vegas and St. Louis, sometimes reuniting with such players as Juli Veee and Zoltan Toth. Popovic finished with a career record of 256-155.
About Indoor Soccer Hall of Fame
The mission of the Indoor Soccer Hall of Fame is to forge a common history for the unique sport of indoor/arena soccer, to celebrate its past, and set the standard for future achievement. For more information or to make a donation please visit the Indoor Soccer Hall of Fame at http://www.indoorsoccerhall.com.