Thursday, December 14, 2006

OBT: Lamar Hunt

An early boss . . .

Lamar Hunt dies

Lamar Hunt, the man who may have done more to advance soccer's cause in the USA than any other individual, died on Wednesday at age 74 from complications of cancer.

Hunt was a leading investor in the NASL from its founding. He returned to the pro soccer scene when MLS launched in 1996 as investor-operator of the Columbus Crew and the Kansas City.

His financing of Crew Stadium started the wave of stadium building for MLS, and shortly after The Hunt Sports Group bought FC Dallas it orchestrated the construction of Pizza Hut Park.

Hunt, the son of legendary Texas oilman H.L. Hunt, saw his first soccer game in the early 1960s when he attended a Shamrock Rovers game in Dublin. In 1966, he watched the U.S. broadcast of the 1966 World Cup final and was approached shortly afterward about the formation of the United Soccer Association. He became a leading investor of what turned into the North American Soccer League and owned the Dallas Tornado until 1981.

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