Major League Soccer announced Wednesday 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, Colorado.
The Alan I. Rothenberg Legacy Award will be presented annually to an individual who has made contributions that have left a legacy in MLS, as Rothenberg did more than two decades ago.
Rothenberg drove the launch of MLS in the early 1990s and secured the league’s original owners, including Philip F. Anschutz and the Kraft and Hunt families, who have been MLS owners for all 20 years of the league's existence.
“Without the foundation put in place by Alan, MLS would not be the success story we are witnessing today,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said in a league statement. “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.”
The 76-year-old Rothenberg has a long history in soccer, dating back to the early 1970s, when he was an owner of the Los Angeles Aztecs of the old NASL. Rothenberg was also the Commissioner of Soccer at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles and in 1990 he became the president of the US Soccer Federation.
He also oversaw two World Cups played on US soil in a span of five years: the 1994 FIFA World Cup, still the most successful men's tournament in FIFA history and the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup which saw the US women emerge victorious in a memorable tournament.
Rothenberg remains involved in soccer to this day, serving as the founder and lifetime director of the US Soccer Foundation, the major charitable arm of soccer in the United States.
For all his accomplishments, FIFA bestowed upon him its Order of Merit in 2006 and he was also inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2007.