|President of the United States Soccer Federation|
|Preceded by||Werner Fricker|
|Succeeded by||Dr. S. Robert Contiguglia|
April 10, 1939 |
Detroit, MI, US
|Alma mater||University of Michigan|
Alan I. Rothenberg (born April 10, 1939 in Detroit, Michigan) is a graduate of the University of Michigan's law school, and an influential administrative figure in the history of North American soccer who is credited with greatly contributing to the growth of the game in the United States, and the namesake of the Alan I. Rothenberg Trophy, which was awarded annually to the winner of the MLS Cup. He is also President of the Los Angeles World Airports Commission.
In 2007, Rothenberg was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame, located in Oneonta, New York, in recognition of his contribution as a "Builder" of the sport in the United States.
Rothenberg was a fan and follower of traditional American sports who had no experience with soccer until the age of 28, when he came into contact with the nascent NASL while serving as a lawyer for Jack Kent Cooke. Cooke, who owned the Lakers of the NBA, the Forum sports arena, the Washington Redskins of the NFL, and the Los Angeles Kings of the NHL, had also obtained the Los Angeles Wolves of the NASL, a short-lived team that lasted only until 1968.
Almost ten years after the folding of the Wolves, Rothenberg headed an investment group that bought the Los Angeles Aztecs, a newer club in the same league, but he sold the team after three seasons in 1980, thus escaping the later collapse of the league. Rothenberg later stated that his timing in buying the team had simply been wrong - "I mistakenly thought the time was right and three years later I realized that the time was wrong. I liked soccer, thought it was a great opportunity then, and thought it was now."
In 1984, Rothenberg was asked by Peter Ueberroth, then serving as the organizer of the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, to take on the role of commissioner of soccer for the Games. The unexpected popularity of soccer that summer - including multiple sell-outs of the 100,000+ seat Rose Bowl - established before the world that an American audience for the game existed, and Rothenberg's success in the capacity of commissioner caused FIFA to seek out his services as director of the 1994 World Cup, which the organization had decided to place in the USA.
In 1990, Rothenberg, with FIFA's backing, defeated the unpopular incumbent Werner Fricker in an election for the Presidency of the United States Soccer Federation, a position he would occupy until 1998. Under Rothenberg's guidance, the 1994 Cup became a major success, setting records for attendance among other things. Fulfilling a promise to FIFA made as part of the World Cup bid, he oversaw the establishment of the first full-time Division I U.S. league since the NASL - Major League Soccer. Rothenberg was also the major force behind the inception of Project 2010.
Rothenberg remains a member of the USSF executive committee, and is also one of three Vice Presidents of CONCACAF. In 1998, Rothenberg headed a bid by the Japanese advertising agency Dentsu to buy the San Jose Clash of MLS, but was forced to pull out at a late date due to the Asian stock market crisis. Rothenberg also serves on several corporate and public boards. In addition to soccer, Rothenberg was also an important figure in professional basketball for many years, first representing Jack Kent Cooke's Lakers and subsequently acting as president of Donald Sterling's Los Angeles Clippers from 1982-1989. Rothenberg was a partner in the Los Angeles offices of the law firms Manatt, Phelps, Rothenberg & Phillips and Latham & Watkins, and served as president of the California State Bar.
- Jewishsports.com profile of Rothenberg
- Associated Press profile
- CONCACAF's chart of organization hierarchy
- MLS press release, issued prior to collapse of deal.
- Soccer America article noting that Dentsu "nearly bought" the SJ Clash.
- 1st Century Bank - Los Angeles, CA
- Alexander Wolff, "They're Trying To Trim The Lakers' Sales", Sports Illustrated, December 3, 1984
- Alan I. Rothenberg, Retired Partner at Latham & Watkins website (retrieved October 29, 2009).
- Alan I. Rothenberg, Esq. (ADR Services, Inc.)
- Alan I. Rothenberg (USC Marshall Sports Institute Biographies)
|President of the United States Soccer Federation (USSF)
Dr. S. Robert Contiguglia