The National Soccer Hall of Fame announced that Alan I. Rothenberg, former president of the U.S. Soccer Federation and Chair/CEO of the 1994 World Cup, will be the 2007 builder inductee. Induction 2007, presented by The Century Council's Girl Talk: Choices and Consequences of Underage Drinking, will be Sunday, August 26 at noon on the Soccer Hall of Fame campus in Oneonta.
Rothenberg, well known for his work in the soccer community, served as the president of the USSF from 1990 to 1998. During his tenure Rothenberg undertook several crucial projects that had a positive impact on soccer in the United States, especially his work that completed the transformation of the Federation from a small association run primarily by volunteers to a professional organization, his leadership of the1994 World Cup, and his critical role in the launching of Major League Soccer. He established American soccer in the sports industry by gaining sponsors and television recognition, making it possible to raise money in support of soccer programs that led the way to the MLS.
"Alan Rothenberg revolutionized soccer in America," George Brown, president of the Hall of Fame said. "It was his dynamic leadership and management skills that resulted in the U.S.A receiving worldwide acclaim as host of the 1994 World Cup. And it was those same attributes that resulted in that World Cup being the most successful in history."
"Alan breathed new life into soccer," Brown continued. "Starting with the catalyst of the 1994 World Cup, soccer in the United States has undergone a renaissance leading to the launch of Major League Soccer and the phenomenal growth and success of both the men's and women's national teams in international competition. We will be honored to welcome Alan Rothenberg into the National Soccer Hall of Fame. He has earned his place."
Rothenberg has been recognized for his accomplishments nationally and internationally. As founder and chairman of Major League Soccer, Rothenberg was honored in 1996 when the league championship trophy was named the Alan I. Rothenberg Trophy. The Hall of Fame previously recognized Rothenberg in 1998 when he was the first person to be presented with the National Soccer Medal of Honor, bestowed upon extraordinary individuals whose positive contributions to soccer at the national level have been so great as to have changed the course of soccer history in the United States. In 2006 FIFA honored him with its highest award, the Order of Merit. He is one of only six Americans who have been so recognized by FIFA.
Rothenberg, born April 10, 1939, became involved in soccer in 1967 as a lawyer for Jack Kent Cooke, the owner of the Los Angeles Wolves of the National Professional Soccer League. Rothenberg was an owner of the Los Angeles Aztecs of the North American Soccer League from 1977 to 1980. He continued his career in soccer during the very successful 1984 Los Angeles Olympics where he served as the commissioner of soccer and brought the largest attendance to soccer of any of the Olympic sports. In 1990 he succeeded Hall of Famer Werner Fricker (Class of 1992) as president of USSF. Among his first acts was to hire another future Hall of Famer Hank Steinbrecher (Class of 2005) as the Federation's secretary general.
During his career he directed the1994 FIFA World Cup, the most successful FIFA World cup in history attended by a still-standing record 3,567,415 people. The 1994 World Cup made a $50+ million profit, generating a surplus large enough to create the U.S. Soccer Foundation, the major charitable arm of soccer in the United States. The Foundation is one of Rothenberg's greatest legacies that will continue to benefit soccer far into the future. In 1999 Rothenberg made another contribution to soccer at the Women's World Cup, when he served as a chairman for the historic event.
Rothenberg will be inducted alongside previously announced player inductees Mia Hamm and Julie Foudy. The election for a veteran member of the Class of 2007 is underway. Announcement of the veteran inductee, should one be elected, will be in early April.