Lamar Hunt Receives National Soccer Hall of Fame Medal of Honor
Contact: Lynne Hoppe, Communications
(Columbus, Ohio..... May 15, 1999) - Long time soccer supporter and
Soccer owner/investor Lamar Hunt was presented with the National Soccer
Fame¹s Medal of Honor today on the field of the new Columbus Crew
before the kick off of the Inaugural Game. The Medal of Honor, which was
honor an individual who has demonstrated vision and played an historic
role in changing
the course of soccer in America, was presented by MLS Commissioner Doug
U.S. Soccer President Alan Rothenberg, North American Soccer League
Woosnam and National Soccer Hall of Fame President Will Lunn.
"Lamar Hunt has been a visionary in the sport of soccer in the United
States," said Hall
of Fame President Lunn in announcing the award. "His passion and
making soccer one of America¹s top professional sports has placed him in
with two major leagues spanning thirty years. The one hundred and five
year history of
professional soccer in the USA speaks to the significance of his
creating the new,
soccer-specific Columbus Crew Stadium."
The Columbus Crew Stadium is Hunt¹s most recent major contribution to
the sport of
soccer in the United States. According to Logan, "the opening of
Stadium as the first major league stadium built specifically for soccer
in the United
States plays a pivotal role in the league's grand journey of
establishing itself on the
American sports landscape. The new stadium shows the ambitious vision
finally come to fruition after just three seasons of professional soccer
in this country, and
will set a precedent for the future of Major League Soccer stadiums."
Alan Rothenberg, founder of Major League Soccer, praised the commitment
Hunt. "From the time we began creating Major League Soccer, we felt that
soccer-specific intimate stadiums would be the ultimate key to the
said Rothenberg. "Now that the Hunt Family and the Columbus Crew have
integral first steps to do just that, we will move forward to a new
level of excitement."
It is Hunt¹s long dedication, as well as his continuing commitment, to
the sport which
earned him the Medal of Honor Award, said Hall of Fame President Lunn.
owner of the Dallas Tornado of the NASL in 1968. In its 14 years in
Dallas, the Tornado
was one of the sport¹s model franchises. The Tornado¹s legacy of soccer
given credit for being the catalyst in the development of the game. "He
was a major
force in the North American Soccer League,² said Lunn. "He helped hold
through a struggling start and then played a very major role in
recruiting investors and
building it into a major league." Former NASL Commissioner Phil Woosnam
"Lamar was always there when we needed him."
As a soccer fan, Hunt has been involved at every level of the sport in
the United States:
supporting youth soccer as a proud parent; winning championships as a
owner; assisting in the start up of two professional leagues; and,
serving as the
co-chairman of the Dallas World Cup Host Committee. "In fact," said
Lunn, "Lamar is
such a big fan he has been to every World Cup since 1970, except 1978."
In recognition of his early contributions to the sport, Hunt was
inducted into the National
Soccer Hall of Fame in 1982. He is also a member of the Pro Football
Hall of Fame and
the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Hunt was an original organizer of
Football League and founded the Kansas City Chiefs.
Hunt was one of the original investors in Major League Soccer and the
aggressively promotes the establishment of a professional soccer league
in the United
States. In addition to the Columbus Crew, the Hunts are owner/operators
of the Kansas
City Wizards MLS team.
This was the second National Soccer Hall of Fame Medal of Honor to be
an outstanding contribution to the sport of soccer in America. The
inaugural medal was
presented to Alan Rothenberg, MLS founder and former president of U.S.
Dr. Henry Kissinger at a ceremony in New York last June. "The medal is
not an annual
award, but is given by the Hall of Fame to recognize contributions to
soccer of the
magnitude to effect the course of the sport and, therefore, its history.
Rothenberg and Lamar Hunt have clearly effected the sport at that
level," said Lunn.
A special showcase for the Medal of Honor recipients is being created at
$5.5-million National Soccer Hall of Fame museum complex to be dedicated
Oneonta, New York, on June 12th. The new National Soccer Hall of Fame is
30,000-square-foot museum complex that is filled with exhibits that
trace the little known
yet fascinating history of soccer from the first game played in the
United States during
the Civil War to today¹s Major League Soccer action and this summer¹s
World Cup. The museum includes a video wall and Kicks Hall of Fame
and pro shop.
Visitors and fans can get in the action with hands-on, feet-on
interactives. The Kicks
Zone lets players test their skills and their strategy with speed
dribbles, a header cage,
animated "Kick It" games, power shots, The Wall, three-on-three
challenges and more
while computer kiosks throughout the Hall of Fame let visitors test
their knowledge of
soccer trivia and of the great moments in the history of the sport.
For more information on the National Soccer Hall of Fame, visit the web
www.soccerhall.org or phone (607) 432-3351.