Lamar Hunt and Ahmet Ertugun were soccer visionaries. They were also both a part of moving soccer forward in the United States in different ways but ultimately they were both similar.
Both passed away recently and condolences go to their families.
Lamar Hunt has been lauded for all his efforts recently sourrounding his contribution to American Football, creating the AFL and the Super Bowl and his work with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Most commentators neglected to mention his unreal and undying support for the sport of soccer from the NASL to the MLS is. Without Hunt there would not be soccer at this level in the U.S. Who knows if there even would be an MLS?
He was the first to get a soccer specific facility built in Columbus and has promoted the MLS through his ownership group the Hunt Sports Group.
What I loved about this man was his integrity and the ease with which he carried himself.
Once as a broadcaster on an MLS game a few years back I interviewed Lamar during the game in the booth and asked him to read a promo card during the broadcast. After reading the card he had a smile as big as a chesire cat on his face, as I thanked him I told him he had a great future in broadcasting and he smiled broadly. I never forget that moment nor his grace and stability supporting soccer during his remarkable lifetime.
Ahmet Ertugun I knew indirectly as a kid supporting the New York Cosmos. Little did we as teen-agers understand the role of the Turkish leader of Atlantic records who helped forge the image of super club with the Cosmos and its many stars.
He melded music with the global game of soccer.
Once while looking up in the stands at Giants Stadium my buddies and I spotted Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones and Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin and funny man with glasses. Now we were big Stones and Zeppelin fans growing up in New Jersey so we were pumped. Little did we know of the importance of the funny man with glasses.
Ertegun and his brother Neshui were both soccer visionaries who remarkably were inducted in both the US Soccer Hall of Fame and the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame.
Catch on ABC tomorrow at noon “ONCE IN A LIFETIME’ the extraordinary story of the New York Cosmos and you will be able to fill in the blanks.
REST IN PEACE LAMAR AND AHMET AND THANK YOU