National Soccer Hall of Fame Class of 2019 Induction Ceremony
National Soccer Hall of Fame
Saturday, September 21, 2019
“The Story of Soccer”
Hello everyone! Thank you, Mark. Distinguished guests, so many friends, ladies and gentlemen.
U.S. Soccer was honored to partner with the Hunt Family, FC Dallas, the City of Frisco and so many of you to make this National Soccer Hall of Fame a reality. It was great to be here with you last year for the grand opening. It’s wonderful to be back. And I think everyone can be very proud that, in just its first eleven months, the Hall of Fame has already been recognized for excellence. By the American Alliance of Museums, for the facial recognition technology that personalizes a visitor’s experience. And by the World Football Summit Industry Awards, which named the Hall of Fame a finalist for Best Venue. Congratulations!
Last year, Dan Hunt rightly said that the Hall of Fame tells “the story of soccer.” Every visitor who comes here also brings their own story, their own hopes. Maybe it’s a young boy who dreams of someday wearing the crest and carrying our Men’s National Team to new heights. Or a young girl who dreams of following in the footsteps of this year’s amazing Women’s National Team—with their second consecutive title and unprecedented fourth star—our 2019 Women’s World Cup champions!
Maybe the visitor is a coach who helps their players reach their highest potential. A referee who teaches our kids to play by the rules. Or maybe it’s a fan—one of the millions who are driving the growth of soccer in America.
Whoever they are, wherever they come from, the visitors to this Hall of Fame are inspired by soccer greats. And as of tonight, that includes two new names.
The all-time leading goal scorer in women’s international soccer, Women’s World Cup champion, Olympic gold medal winner, and an inspiration to millions around the world—Abby Wambach!
And a leader who has given more than four decades to the game, including twelve years as U.S. Soccer President, and who, on a personal level, welcomed me to the Federation. And let me say, nothing truly prepares you to be President of U.S. Soccer, and so I have an even deeper appreciation for his many achievements. Thank you, Sunil Gulati!
Today, we also salute this year’s recipient of the Colin Jose Media Award—only the second photojournalist to ever receive it—Tony Quinn!
Finally, let me take this opportunity to once again express our profound gratitude to our U.S. Soccer CEO and Secretary General for nearly 20 years. His last day was this past Monday. You see his legacy in our phenomenal growth, more world-class facilities, including this Hall of Fame, a greater focus on player development and friendships with so many people here tonight. On behalf of us all, thank you Dan Flynn!
In closing, I just want to say, on behalf of all of us at U.S. Soccer, we will continue to be your partner in this Hall of Fame and writing the next chapter in the story of soccer. Because, at the Federation, we’re dedicated to serving every member of our soccer family—our 21 national teams, adult players, youth players, coaches and referees. We are One Nation, One Team. And we’re proud to work with you as we grow the game we love at every level and in every corner of our country.
Congratulations Abby, Sunil and Tony! Have a great evening!