The Hall of Fame announced Tuesday that Bobby Smith, U.S. national team defender, three-time NASL all-star, and three-time NASL champion, has been elected to the National Soccer Hall of Fame as a Veteran Player. He will be honored at Induction 2007 on Sunday, Aug. 26.
"Bobby Smith was a feared and respected defender during his career in the North American Soccer League," said George Brown, president of the Hall of Fame. "At a time when foreign stars were getting all the headlines, Smith was the quiet American star who anchored his team's defense. Werner Roth, Rick Davis and Bobby were the only Americans to win three NASL championships and he now joins Davis and Roth in the Hall of Fame. Bobby Smith was a credit to the game as a player and he will be a credit to the National Soccer Hall of Fame."
In a tight election, Smith was named on 26 ballots, 50% of the 52 ballots cast by Hall of Famers, the only voters in the Veteran's election. A player has to be named on at least 50% of the ballots in order to be elected.
Others on the ballot were international stars George Best of Northern Ireland, Teofilo 'Nene' Cubillas, former captain of Peru, Steve David from Trinidad & Tobago, and Hubert Birkenmeier from Germany, all of whom played in the NASL.
Smith played 9 seasons in the NASL from 1973 through 1981 and also appeared 18 times for the U.S. national team. He will be inducted alongside previously announced Player Inductees Mia Hamm and Julie Foudy and Builder inductee Alan Rothenberg.