CHICAGO (Aug. 16, 2014) – Jon McCullough, chairman of U.S. Soccer’s Athlete Council and a longtime leader and volunteer in the Olympic and Paralympic movements, passed away after succumbing to cancer.
“We are deeply saddened by the news of Jon McCullough’s passing,” U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati said. “Jon lived his life with the embodiment of team spirit, always willing to give everything he could for the good of the sport and his community. The U.S. Soccer and Paralympic communities have lost a great advocate and an even better person. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family during this difficult time.”
McCullough represented the U.S. Paralympic Team in the 1996 and 2004 Paralympics as a defender. He was a member of the USA squad for 12 years, also playing in the 1998 World All-Star Game in Brazil, three ParaPan American Games and three World Championships.
McCullough’s on-field passion for soccer filtered off the field as he served in a variety of leadership and volunteer roles in the Olympics and Paralympics. He was a member and chair of the U.S. Olympic Committee’s Athletes Advisory Council, a chairman of U.S. Soccer’s Athlete Council and a member of the U.S. Soccer Board of Directors. McCullough also served on the International Paralympic Committees Athlete Council and the USOC’s Paralympic Advisory Committee.
At the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, McCullough was a keynote speaker for the Man-Up Summit, a weeklong gathering of 150 international delegates seeking to develop domestic initiatives to halt violence against women and girls, using sport and music as tools. Also in South Africa, McCullough was a facilitator for FIFA’s youth initiative Football for Hope.
Most recently, McCullough served as the executive director at BlazeSports America, based in Decatur, Georgia. BlazeSports provides all children and adults with physical disabilities the chance to play sports and live healthy and active lives.
McCullough was a decorated disabled veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard and held an undergraduate dual degree in international environmental health from The American University in Washington, D.C.