U.S. Soccer Foundation Announces Creation of Kevin Payne Community Impact Award

The U.S. Soccer Foundation announced that it will honor longtime Board Member Kevin Payne by creating a new award in his honor. The Kevin Payne Community Impact Award will be given each year to a professional team that exemplifies what it means to leverage soccer for positive change while engaging youth and strengthening under-resourced communities. The team selected will also demonstrate leadership in the field and have a proven track record of enacting positive community change through the game.

“I wouldn’t be part of the Foundation had it not been for Kevin, who recruited me to the Board,” said Ed Foster-Simeon, President & CEO of the U.S. Soccer Foundation. “I first met Kevin when he was President & CEO of D.C. United when the team was setting the standard for excellence on the playing field. During one of our first conversations, he told me that the club’s mission was to ‘win championships and serve the community.’ That we both cared deeply about community and using the game for game for good became the foundation of an enduring friendship. Throughout my time as President & CEO, Kevin has been a trusted friend and advisor – someone who always pushed for the best in every aspect of our work together. His unwavering commitment to growing the game and providing access to soccer in underserved communities is unmatched. Naming an award in his honor is just a small testament to the giant legacy he leaves behind in soccer in this country.”

“Kevin is among the very, very few who have been here since the beginning,” said Alan Rothenberg, Founder and Lifetime Director of the U.S. Soccer Foundation. “From his role in marketing at U.S. Soccer and helping make the 1994 World Cup a huge success to his role in launching Major League Soccer with D.C. United and helping start the U.S. Soccer Foundation—the sport of soccer in the United States owes Kevin so much. Millions of fans have benefited from his impact on the game and thousands of youth from underserved communities have benefited from his longstanding tenure at the U.S. Soccer Foundation.”

“Kevin was an exceptional leader and even better person, and nobody knew more about soccer in the U.S.,” said Peter Luther, Chair, U.S. Soccer Foundation Board of Directions. “The U.S. Soccer Foundation would not be what it is today without Kevin – he is irreplaceable and will be sorely missed.  Kevin’s legacy and impact will live on through the over 100,000 children in the U.S. who were positively impacted by the programs he helped deliver through the Foundation.”

Payne joined the U.S. Soccer Foundation Board of Directors in 1998.

After careers as an award-winning radio journalist in New York City and as a marketing and special events executive in Vail, CO, Payne became the National Administrator, and the Director of Marketing of the United States Soccer Federation in 1989. In 1991, he moved to New York and became the Executive Vice President and, ultimately, the President of Soccer USA Partners, which owned all marketing, broadcast and event promotion rights to the U.S. Men’s National Team leading up to the 1994 and 1998 World Cups.

In 1994, Payne created the first ownership group for D.C. United and the team began Major League Soccer play in 1996. Most recently, Payne served as CEO and Executive Director of US Club Soccer.

For his tireless efforts to promote soccer in this country, Payne was awarded the prestigious Werner Fricker Builder Award by U.S. Soccer in February 2011. He also was honored for his contributions to D.C. United with his induction into its Hall of Tradition in October 2015 and he was inducted in into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2021 as a Builder.

The National Soccer Hall of Fame noted that throughout his career, “his decisions even helped change the course of American soccer history.”

Payne is a founding member of the MLS/SUM Board of Governors and is also a founding board member of United for D.C., the Greater Washington Sports Alliance.

The inaugural Kevin Payne Community Impact Award will be presented at a new summit ahead of the 2023 Congressional Soccer Match, which will take place in the spring.

The U.S. Soccer Foundation’s programs are the national model for sports-based youth development in underserved communities. Since its founding in 1994, the Foundation has established programs proven to help children embrace an active and healthy lifestyle while nurturing their personal growth beyond sports. Its cost-effective, high-impact initiatives offer safe environments where kids and communities thrive. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the U.S. Soccer Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization. For more information, visit ussoccerfoundation.org or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.