Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber presented the 2006 Commissioner's Award to CONCACAF and FIFA executive Chuck Blazer on Saturday night at the MLS Gala Awards reception.
Blazer has been involved in soccer in the United States for some 25 years on all levels, from youth coach to professional administrator and all the way to FIFA's Executive Committee.
"Chuck is one of the most important people in the history of soccer in this country. Those in the soccer business know how important he is to the development of this sport and management of this sport throughout North America," Garber said. "Not every American knows that the man behind the scenes pushing this sport is Chuck and for that he is very worthy of being recognized by MLS and by our ownership."
Currently the General Secretary of CONCACAF -- the confederation governing all soccer in North America, Central America and the Caribbean -- Blazer is helping to grow the game throughout the region. He is a member of the FIFA Executive Committee, Chair of FIFA's Confederations Cup Committee and on the Organizing Committee for the FIFA U-20 and U-17 Women's World Cups.
Blazer is also Deputy Chair of FIFA's Players' Status Committee and a member of the Marketing and TV advisory board. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of FIFA Marketing AG. He was also FIFA's head of delegation in Cologne during the 2006 World Cup in Germany and is the most senior CONCACAF representative on the FIFA Executive Committee, a role that allows him to help shape the security and future of the sport in the region.
One of Blazer's key contributions to MLS in particular was his role in helping the league's marketing arm, Soccer United Marketing, gain the U.S. television rights to the FIFA World Cup. Garber said that while the league appreciates his assistance in the television realm, the award was granted for his overall contributions to the sport and the game.
"His support for us started long before his support on television. It's far deeper than that. It's not about one specific thing, it's about what influence he's had over the last 10 years," said Garber.
"We have an American that sits at the most influential level in FIFA on the Executive Committee not just representing the U.S. but representing all of the countries within CONCACAF and all of the leagues within CONCACAF. He's just unbelievably important to where we are today and where we're going to be in the future."
Jonathan Nierman is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.