Former San Diego State and U.S. National Team standout Marcelo Balboa has been elected to the National Soccer Hall of Fame, it was announced. He will be inducted along with John Harkes and Tab Ramos in a ceremony in Oneonta, N.Y. Balboa joins another former SDSU teammate Eric Wynalda in the hall.
“The announcement was a joy and relief,” Balboa said. “You always know how you play as a person, but to have fans and the media recognize me like this makes it a very happy day in the Balboa household.”
Balboa was tied with Ramos as the top vote-getter this year, his first on the ballot, receiving 108 of 123 votes cast.
Balboa played at SDSU from 1988-89 under head coach Chuck Clegg, earning first team All-America status in 1988, and second team honors in 1989. During his time as an Aztec, he led SDSU to back-to-back NCAA appearances and a 29-8-7 combined record. He was inducted into the Aztec Hall of Fame in 1996.
“San Diego State has been a big part of my life,” Balboa said. “Being an Aztec gave me a chance and a place to make myself better.”
“My wife and I feel an enormous amount of pride,” Clegg said. “He was a coach’s dream-a coach and a leader on the field. Marcelo is someone who belongs in the Hall of Fame.”
Balboa was a member of four U.S. National Teams, becoming one of just a handful of players, along with Wynalda, who played in three soccer World Cups, and is Team USA’s all-time leader in international appearances with 128 caps.
He also was one of the greats of Major League Soccer where he was a five-time all star for the Colorado Rapids, retiring as the Rapids’ all-time leader in games played and started and minutes played. He was the team’s third-highest scorer and was fourth in career assists. Balboa became the first defender in MLS history to score 20 career goals and record 20 career assists.
“My goal was to leave my mark on soccer,” Balboa said. “With the media and colleagues voting me in, this is a chance to leave something behind for my son and grandchildren.”