The Soccer Hall of Fame and Museum is an organization that aims to “collect, record, interpret and commemorate the soccer heritage of Canada.” Its offices and display space are located at the Soccer Centre in Vaughan, Ontario.

Origins

The Soccer Hall of Fame and Museum started when a group of like-minded individuals formed a heritage committee in 1988 to preserve Canadian soccer history. The committee started building a collection of soccer memorabilia that has grown to include Canada’s gold medal from the 1904 Olympics, the 1926 Challenge Trophy, and the boot Geri Donnelly used in 1986 to score the first-ever goal for the Canadian national women’s team. While looking for a permanent home, the committee filed incorporation papers in 1997; former Ontario Soccer Association president Bill Hoyle and soccer historian Colin Jose were among the six signatories.

Members

The first Hall of Fame class was inducted in 2000 with a “starting XI” of both players and builders: the 11 players included Bruce Wilson, Bobby Iarusci, and Geordie Campbell, and the 11 builders included David Forsyth, an influential figure in the early development of Canadian soccer. Since then, the Hall has honoured many players (e.g., Charmaine Hooper and Jason deVos), pioneers (e.g., First Nations player Harry Manson or Xul-si-malt), and builders (e.g., referee Sonia Denoncourt), as well as organizations and teams (e.g., Vancouver Columbus FC and the men’s 2000 Gold Cup-winning team).

Nomination and Selection

Nominations to the Hall of Fame can be made by members of the public or by members of the Hall’s ballot committee. The ballot committee is composed of Hall members, historians, and prominent members of the soccer media. A maximum of four players and two builders may be inducted each year, as well as one pioneer, team, and organization.

To be inducted into the Hall of Fame as a player, a candidate must have played with distinction for Canada or in a national senior or professional league in Canada or abroad. They must also have been retired from professional or international play for at least four years before being nominated. Players must have been born in Canada or have become Canadian citizens before or during their playing career. However, the committee takes context into account when evaluating older players: Canadian citizenship, as such, did not exist until 1947, and from 1927 to 1957 Canada did not have a national team.

The Builder category includes coaches, administrators, referees, and medical staff who have served the sport with distinction at the provincial, national or international level for an extended period. It also includes members of the media who have commented on or written about soccer.

Pioneers must have made a “significant contribution to the early development of the game of soccer in Canada.” They include players, coaches, referees, administrators, medical staff and members of the media. Both builders and pioneers must be Canadian citizens, or have been long-term residents.

Teams and organizations (including clubs, tournaments, organizations and publications) can also be inducted into the Hall of Fame if they have excelled at the national level.

To be elected, no player, builder, pioneer, organization or team can have brought the sport into disrepute.

Brian Budd Award

The Soccer Hall of Fame also awards the Brian Budd Award, which recognizes outstanding individuals who have promoted the game of soccer in Canada. This award is decided upon solely by the board of governors.

Physical and Virtual Presence

The Soccer Hall of Fame and Museum maintains both a physical and virtual presence. The Hall of Fame is located in the William Hoyle Room at the Soccer Centre in Vaughan, Ontario. The organization’s website has a virtual Hall, with short profiles of each player, builder, pioneer, team and organization that has been inducted since 2000. The museum collection is also housed at the Soccer Centre and is currently in the process of being fully digitized. A virtual exhibition on the history of women’s soccer in Canada will be launched in the summer of 2015.