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Bob Gansler, Bruce Murray, Cobi Jones and others elected to U.S. soccer Hall of Fame

March 29, 2011 |  3:42 pm

I756i7kf Bob Gansler, the coach who led the U.S. back to the World Cup after a 40-year absence, was elected to the National Soccer Hall of Fame on Tuesday, along with four players who represented the U.S. in World Cup tournaments between 1990 and 2002.

The players chosen include forward Bruce Murray, of the Gansler-coached 1990 U.S. team that took part in Italia '90, the first appearance by an American side at international soccer's premier event since 1950.

Also named were winger and three-time World Cup star Cobi Jones, the former Galaxy player who holds the record for most men's national team appearances with 164; midfielder Earnie Stewart, Jones' sidekick from the 1994 World Cup team, and defender Eddie Pope, a three-time World Cup player and three-time Major League Soccer champion with D.C. United.

While congratulating those elected, Kevin Payne, D.C. United's president and chief executive officer, Tuesday appealed to voters in future Hall of Fame balloting not to overlook foreign players who have been crucial to the game's development in the U.S.

"I'm disappointed that, once again, [Bolivian midfielder] Marco Etcheverry was not elected to the Hall of Fame," Payne said. "Marco was the driving force behind D.C. United during the most dominant era any professional team in our country has enjoyed and he set the standard for his position, which remains unmatched in MLS history.

"I call on the voters, in future, to broaden their perspective and acknowledge the great contributions key foreign-born players have made to MLS and the game in America, and vote them into the Hall of Fame."


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-- Grahame L. Jones

Photo: Coach Bob Gansler in 2004. Credit: Chris Carlson / AP