MLS founder Alan Rothenberg
was named the first recipient of an award that will bear his name, the Alan I. Rothenberg Legacy Award. As chairman and CEO of the
World Cup 1994 organizing committee and president of U.S. Soccer, he drove efforts to get MLS off the ground.
MLS Commissioner Don Garber
Rothenberg during the pregame ceremonies at Wednesday night’s AT&T MLS All-Star Game.
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 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 role in soccer goes back to 1967 as general counsel of the Los Angeles Wolves. He was an owner of the NASL's Los Angeles Aztecs. Rothenberg's work as commissioner of the highly
successful soccer competition at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles propelled him into the FIFA spotlight. And it encouraged him to run for U.S. Soccer president in 1990 when he also took on the
role overseeing World Cup USA 1994. He also served as chairman of the 1999 Women’s World Cup organizing committee.
“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.”