Newly-inducted Indoor Soccer Hall of Fame member Zoltan Toth and son Chris Toth after a San Diego Sockers victory in December. Photo Credit: Stephen Prendergast
Indoor Soccer News: Former San Diego Sockers Make List of Six Legends Named to Indoor Soccer Hall of Fame
On Monday, March 4, the Indoor Soccer Hall of Fame announced its 2013 class, marking the induction of five players and one coach. Preki, Kai Haaskivi, Zoltan Toth, Brian Quinn, Mike Stankovic, and Gordon Jago were added to the 12 members who were inducted in the inaugural class. Quinn and Toth join fellow former Sockers Juli Veee, Steve Zungul, Branko Segota, Kevin Crow, Victor Nogueira and Head Coach Ron Newman.
Members of the selection committee include Ron Newman, Kenny Cooper, Al Miller, Otto Orf, and current Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL) coaches Keith Tozer (Milwaukee Wave) and Kim Roentved (Missouri Comets).
The initial classes of inductees will focus on the era from 1978 to 1992 when the original MISL and North American Soccer League (NASL) Indoor dominated the indoor scene. To be considered, players must have played at least six seasons through 1991-92. Also on the ballot are coaches, builders, and administrators who made an indelible impact on the sport.
The first class was announced in October 2011, but the ISHOF changed its calendar so that the annual voting results would coincide with the MISL and Professional Arena Soccer League (PASL) playoffs to increase media exposure and allow teams the time in the offseason to plan special ceremonies to recognize their former players.
Haaskivi and Preki led the field with 12 votes each. Toth was next with 11, while Quinn, Stankovic, and Jago grabbed eight each. No other player earned more than five votes.
Voters were allowed to pick 15 players, coaches, and administrators to establish the inaugural class, but were constrained to just seven this year which splintered the vote.
"There are still a number of great players who haven't been selected," said ISHOF Executive Director Sydney Nusinov. "It's kind of like telling baseball voters they have to choose between Stan Musial and Mickey Mantle, and they can only pick one. It's hard to build a consensus when there are so many worthy candidates."
Haaskivi, the fifth leading scorer in MISL history, played for the Houston Summit, Cleveland Force, Baltimore Blast, and Cleveland Crunch in the MISL and the Edmonton Drillers in the NASL over a 14 year indoor career, totaling 817 regular season points. Haaskivi was a seven-time All-Star and four-time All-MISL 1st Team selection.
Preki was an instant indoor sensation when he came to the US at the age of 22 to play for the Tacoma Stars. He played nine seasons for the Stars, St. Louis Storm, and San Jose Grizzlies before embarking on a celebrated outdoor career in Major League Soccer (MLS) and with the U.S. Men’s National Team. Preki finished 7th all-time in the MISL in scoring with seven 40+ goal seasons. The Belgrade native topped the 50 goal plateau four times. Preki finished with 796 points in the MISL, where he was the 1988-89 MVP and CISL, where he was the 1995 MVP.
Toth was overshadowed by Shep Messing in New York early in his career and by Victor Nogueira in San Diego late in his career, but in between he quietly put up some of the best goalkeeping numbers in indoor soccer history. Toth was first in MISL history in winning percentage at .667 on his career 168-84 record. His 4.03 GAA was also an MISL best. He finished fifth in wins. A two-time MISL Goalkeeper of the Year, Toth won seven championships with the New York Arrows and San Diego Sockers before finishing his career with the St. Louis Storm.
“If you practice hard, then the game will be easy,” said Toth, whose father was also a goalkeeper in their native Hungary. “My dad was the best keeper in the last 120 years at my former club of Ujpest in Hungary, but he did not get the same honor at retirement. I will always look up to the magical Magyars who coached me and passed on the love of the game. We learned the game and mastered it because of them. These legends were the perfect examples, and my dad was number one.”
Quinn, who this year was inducted into the Breitbard Hall of Fame, the highest honor for any San Diego athlete, was the engine for eight San Diego Sockers championships. Quinn, considered by some to be the greatest midfielder in indoor soccer history, was a six-time All-Star and two-time Championship Series MVP. Quinn's 10 year career with the Sockers and Montreal Manic produced 346 points in 314 games. Quinn later joined the U.S. Men’s National Team outdoors and succeeded Ron Newman behind the Sockers bench.
Brian Quinn and I both came to the U.S. to make it, and I am very proud that we made it to the Hall of Fame,” Toth said about the honor. “One other thing we are have common is that our boys both carried on the legacy. Damien Quinn is a midfielder and Chris Toth is goalkeeper. On the field we passed the experience on to the new generation.”
Stankovic was Baltimore's enforcer and, along with Kim Roentved, one of the MISL's preeminent two-way players. Stankovic played 15 seasons with the Baltimore Blast and Baltimore Spirit and also played for the Wichita Wings and the NASL's Dallas Tornado and Memphis Rogues. Stankovic played 424 games in the NASL and MISL scoring 453 points, and winning one championship. Stankovic was named to the MISL's All-Decade Team in 1988 and later became a player/coach with the Spirit.
Jago coached the Dallas Sidekicks and Tampa Bay Rowdies before moving to the Sidekicks front office and then serving as Commissioner of the World Indoor Soccer League. In 1987 Jago coached the Sidekicks to a championship against the Tacoma Stars in the most memorable seven-game series in indoor soccer history. He won the 1979-80 NASL championship with the Rowdies and led the Sidekicks to a CISL championship in 1993 finishing with a 259-223 overall regular season record. Jago's legacy includes signing Tatu in Tampa Bay and bringing him to Dallas where he became an indoor soccer icon. Jago worked tirelessly off the field to keep the Sidekicks in Dallas and is currently a member of their broadcast team.
“I would like to take a moment here to remember those who are no longer with us,” said Toth finally. “Slobo Ilijevski, Kaz Deyna, and the Stan "The Pizzaman" Stamenkovic. I have all the respect for them.”
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 www.indoorsoccerhall.com.
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