Kevin Payne, a National Soccer Hall of Fame inductee and D.C. United founding president, died Sunday in Charleston, S.C., of a long-term lung illness. He was 69.
MLS Commissioner Don Garber issued the following statement:
All of us at Major League Soccer mourn the loss of Kevin Payne, one the League’s most successful club executives. Kevin was instrumental in the formation of the League and helped build D.C. United into the first MLS dynasty — winning three of the first four MLS Cup Championships. D.C. United remains one of the most successful teams in League history.
As one of MLS’ first club executives, Kevin played an important role in shaping the competition and commercial structure of the League. He served on the MLS Board of Governors for many years, both as a representative of D.C. United, the Anschutz Entertainment Group and Toronto FC.
Kevin was committed to the growth of the sport in the United States at all levels and believed in the transformative power of the game. He was a long-time member of the U.S. Soccer Board of Directors and was one of the founding members and officers of the U.S. Soccer Foundation.
Kevin leaves a legacy not only of success in business and sports, but he will also be remembered for his strong moral compass, his kindness, and his devotion to his friends and family. His passing will be deeply felt by everyone at MLS and throughout the entire soccer community. We offer our deepest condolences to Kevin’s wife, Pam, and their daughters, Ashley and Rebecca.
On Sunday, the soccer community mourned Kevin Payne: