National Soccer Hall of Fame: Clint Dempsey among five CBS Sports analysts to crack list of 20 finalists

The 2022 National Soccer Hall of Fame class is officially here. Shortly after the U.S. men’s national team 1-1 draw to Jamaica in the Concacaf World Cup qualifiers, Paramount+ revealed the 20 player finalists — and five were CBS Sports analysts: Clint Dempsey, Oguchi Onyewu, Maurice Edu, Thierry Henry and Aly Wagner.

Joining those five as finalists are David Beckham, Shannon Boxx, Lori Chalupny, Brian Ching, Lauren Cheney Holiday, Eddie Johnson, Shalrie Joseph, Robbie Keane, Pablo Mastroeni, Josh McKinney, Heather Mitts, Carlos Ruiz, Hope Solo, Cat Reddick Whitehill and Josh Wolff. That list is 16 less than the number of players eligible, and only three will be inducted to the National Soccer Hall of Fame on May 21. 

Dempsey joins Robbie Keane as one of only two candidates to reach the final ballot in their first year of eligibility. The Texas native is tied with Landon Donovan for the most goals by a USMNT player (57), was the first USMNT player to score in three separate FIFA World Cups and led the Americans to three Concacaf Gold Cup championships. 

Still, the list is stacked enough for Dempsey to have doubts about an induction this year. 

“That’s too tough right there,” Dempsey said on Paramount+. “That’s a big list right there.”

Fellow CBS Sports analysts Onyewu and Edu were on set for Paramount+’s coverage of the Concacaf qualifiers to celebrate their selections with Dempsey. Between the two of them, Onyewu and Edu have a combined 115 USMNT caps and three World Cup appearances. 

“Honestly, it’s incredibly humbling to be on that list,” Onyewu said. “You’ve named off some talented, talented players who accomplished incredible things for both club and country, so to be on that list — especially sharing the stage with these two as well — proud moment. Definitely a proud moment.”

A Hall of Fame selection would continue an ongoing trend for Edu. The University of Maryland inducted Edu, a former NCAA College Cup champion, to its Hall of Fame just over a month ago.

Former USWNT goalkeeper Hope Solo, whose career got off a blazing start but ended in controversy, was named a finalist in her third attempt. Briana Scurry was on the other end of that controversy — she began her career as Solo’s backup before taking her job during the 2007 World Cup — but maintains Solo deserves a spot. 

“I think she deserves it,” said Scurry, a USWNT legend and 2017 National Soccer Hall of Fame inductee. “If you look at the two records and successes between us … we both have three major wins in major tournaments, two Olympic gold medals and a World Cup championship. If you’re looking at on the field play and you’re judging it by that, I definitely think she deserves to be in it. I am in the Hall of Fame on my third try. This is now her third try, so I think it’s going to happen, and I think she deserves it.”

Six people in all can be inducted into the 2022 Hall of Fame class, including two from veterans Chris Armas, Chico Borja, Marco Etcheverry, Linda Hamilton, Mary Harvey, Frankie Hejduk, Clint Mathis, Tony Sanneh, Kate Sobrero Markgraf and Tisha Venturini-Hoch. One builder can be also inducted, and that list includes Esse Baharmast, Brian Hall, Sandra Hunt and Kari Seitz.

The National Soccer Hall of Fame induction ceremony is slated for May 21. 

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