DENVER (July 29, 2015) – Major League Soccer (MLS) announced today that Alan Rothenberg will be the first recipient of an award that will bear his name, the Alan I. Rothenberg Legacy Award. MLS Commissioner Don Garber honored Rothenberg during the pregame ceremonies at Wednesday night’s 20th annual AT&T MLS All-Star Game, at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo.
The Alan I. Rothenberg Legacy Award will be presented annually to an individual who has made contributions that have left a legacy on MLS, as Rothenberg did more than two decades ago.
“Without the foundation put in place by Alan, MLS would not be the success story we are witnessing today,” said MLS Commissioner Don Garber. “The league is the product of his hard work in establishing the plan for MLS and his long-term vision for what first division soccer could be in the United States and Canada. It is only fitting that the award that will be given annually to a person who has created a legacy for MLS be named in his honor.”
Rothenberg’s dedication to soccer dates back to the early 1970s, when he was an owner of the Los Angeles Aztecs of the North American Soccer League. Rothenberg was the Commissioner of Soccer for the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, which drew the largest crowds of any of the sports contested during those Olympics. In 1990, he became the president of the U.S. Soccer Federation and also took on the role overseeing World Cup USA 1994, the most successful event in FIFA history. In addition, he served as Chairman of the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
“It is a great honor to be recognized by MLS for what can only be described as a labor of love,” said Rothenberg. “My love for soccer runs deep and it has been gratifying to watch the game take root and grow in North America. I always had faith that Americans and Canadians would come to appreciate and love the beauty of the world’s game. When the U.S. was awarded the 1994 World Cup, I was confident, along with a group of dedicated people, that we could fulfill our promise to create a top-flight professional league.”
A Detroit native, Rothenberg is currently the chairman of Premier Partnerships, a sales, consulting and marketing firm specializing in representing clients in sports, entertainment, public facilities and events, with offices in Santa Monica, Calif. and New York City. He still remains involved in soccer, serving as the founder and lifetime director of the U.S. Soccer Foundation, the major charitable arm of soccer in the United States. For his accomplishments, FIFA bestowed upon him its coveted Order of Merit in 2006 and he was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2007.