Soccer information: Kevin Payne dies at 69

Kevin Payne, who helped D.C. United grow to be Main League Soccer’s first dynasty and went on to function president of Toronto FC, has died. He was 69.

The Washington Submit reported that Payne died Sunday in Charleston, S.C., from a lung sickness.

The longtime soccer govt was inducted into the U.S. Nationwide Soccer Corridor of Fame as a builder in 2021.

“Kevin cared deeply about this sport and the individuals concerned in it,” mentioned Djorn Buchholz, govt director of the Nationwide Soccer Corridor of Fame. “His ardour shall be irreplaceable. We’ll miss him and we’ll ensure that his legacy is not going to be forgotten.”

MLS commissioner Don Garber known as Payne “one of many league’s most profitable membership executives.”

“Kevin was instrumental within the formation of the league and helped construct D.C. United into the primary MLS dynasty — successful three of the primary 4 MLS Cup championships,” Garber mentioned in an announcement. “D.C. United stays one of the profitable groups in league historical past.”

“Kevin labored tirelessly for many years to develop the sport in our nation and his work has left an enduring impression,” added U.S. Soccer president Cindy Parlow Cone. “His legacy and contributions modified our recreation in any respect ranges, and he shall be remembered fondly as a buddy and colleague.”

Payne led D.C. United from 1994 to 2001 and once more from 2004 to 2012. He then turned Toronto FC’s first president however was unable to recreate his earlier success.

Payne helped D.C. United discover its toes in time for the debut MLS season in 1996. In its first 4 years of operation, D.C. United received three MLS Cups and was runner-up the opposite yr. His workforce received 47 league video games in its first two seasons.

When the league’s possession pool dwindled, Payne discovered himself in control of six-AEG operated groups — the Los Angeles Galaxy, Colorado Rapids, Chicago Fireplace, D.C. United, New York/New Jersey MetroStars and San Jose Earthquakes — serving to the league to stay afloat throughout some lean years.

He then returned to D.C. United as president and CEO from 2004-12 earlier than changing into president of Toronto.

In coming to Toronto in November 2012, Payne joined a franchise that had did not make the playoffs since its inception in 2007, successful simply 45 video games over these six seasons.

He mentioned he relished the problem.

“I personally love a problem,” he mentioned on the time. “I usually speak with individuals and say ‘What is the enjoyable of being the supervisor of Actual Madrid and spending loopy cash and simply shopping for the very best gamers?’

“I actually like to construct issues.”

On the time, Earl Cochrane was TFC’s director of workforce and participant operations. Cochrane is now normal secretary of Canada Soccer.

Payne routinely wore one in all his 4 MLS championship rings. However he wasn’t going to put on one to his TFC introduction till spouse Pam modified his thoughts.

“I mentioned to my spouse that is bizarre. For the primary time since ’97 — once I obtained the ’96 ring — I am not going to placed on a championship ring,” he mentioned after being unveiled as Toronto’s president and normal supervisor.

“And she or he mentioned ‘I feel you need to put it on.’ I mentioned ‘Nicely, I do not need to be all the time speaking about D.C.’ She mentioned ‘However it’s essential get individuals to aspire to win their very own ring. Perceive that that is the objective.’

“In order that’s why I am carrying it.”

Payne wore his 2004 championship ring to the information convention at BMO Area.

“We discovered the appropriate man,” mentioned Tom Anselmi, then president and COO of Maple Leaf Sports activities and Leisure.

In January 2013, Payne employed former New Zealand worldwide Ryan Nelsen because the membership’s head coach. Nelsen beforehand performed 4 seasons for Payne at D.C. United, captaining the workforce to its fourth championship in 2004.

Payne and Nelsen inherited a horror present. Toronto (5-21-8) posted franchise worsts in 2012 for wins (5), losses (21), factors (23), targets in opposition to (62) and winless string (14).

The dismal exhibiting in 2012 prompted MLSE to roll again 2013 season-ticket costs to that of the membership’s inaugural yr in 2007.

Payne turned heads earlier than the 2013 season when he mentioned he was disenchanted on the health degree of “a variety of gamers.”

Payne took a scalpel to the cap, shedding gamers whereas dealing to amass allocation cash to extend their sources. However the shedding continued and Payne and Cochrane had been gone in September 2013 as new MLSE boss Tim Leiweke cleaned home.

Born March 5, 1953, Payne performed soccer in school and on the semi-pro degree. After beginning his profession as a radio journalist in New York Metropolis and as a particular occasions govt in Vail, Colo., Payne turned to the enterprise facet of soccer in 1989 when he was employed as U.S. Soccer’s nationwide administrator.

Payne was named CEO and govt director of US Membership Soccer in January 2015 and remained within the place till he retired on Dec. 31, 2021.

Payne was a member of the MLS board of governors and its competitors committee for the league’s first 18 years, a U.S. Soccer board member from 1994 to 2004 and was vice-chairman of the U.S. Soccer Basis.

He additionally served on the FIFA International Committee for Membership Soccer from 2009 to 2012. In 2011, Payne was awarded the celebrated Werner Fricker Builder Award by U.S. Soccer for his excellent work within the sport.

He additionally was honoured for his contributions to D.C. United as he was inducted into its Corridor of Custom in October 2015.

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