[HALL OF FAME] Before there was Ricky Davis or Paul Caligiuri or John Harkes or Landon Donovan or any one of the other trend-setting American pro stars of the last 30 years, there was Kyle Rote, Jr., the first and perhaps most important American pro star. Rote was elected to the National Soccer Hall of Fame Class of 2010 on the Veteran ballot.
Until Rote came along, there was no American star of note in the North American Soccer League, but he made history as the first and only American-born player to win an NASL scoring title, finishing with 10 goals and 10 assists in 1973 for the Dallas Tornado.
The son of the legendary NFL star of the same name, Rote brought media attention like no other soccer player in the pre-Pele era of the NASL.
Much of that attention came off the soccer field. Rote represented soccer in the made-for-television Superstars competition on ABC Wide World of Sports for four years (1974-1977).
He won the final event in 1974, 1976 and 1977, beating out athletes like O.J. Simpson, Sugar Ray Leonard, Lynn Swann, Julius Erving, Roger Staubach and winners of three Olympic decathlon gold medals.
Rote played with hometown Dallas through the 1978 season, and led the team in scoring in 1973, 1975 and 1977 before leaving prior to the 1979 season for Houston as the Tornado all-time leading scorer.
He briefly worked in broadcasting during the 1980s but then embarked on a highly successful career as a sports agent, founding Memphis-based Athletic Resource Management, which made a name for itself with its representation of NFL and college football coaches.
Rote joins Bruce Arena, Thomas Dooley and Preki Radosavljevic in Class of 2010
He received 60.42 percent of the votes of Hall of Fame members in the Veterans category, edging the late Glenn Myernick and Shep Messing, the only other players to receive at least 50 percent.