Great story in The Salt Lake City Tribune today about the life and death struggles Real Salt Lake striker Yura Movsisyan endured as a child growing up in war-torn Azerbaijan before his family emigrated to Pasadena. His proud parents will be watching their son from the Home Depot Center stands at Saturday’s playoff decider against Chivas USA.
Read the story here.
U.S. Soccer began accepting nominations today for its seventh annual end of year awards for best blog, soccer bar, store and video. Details here.
Finally, one of the best executives in MLS got his just reward today: the Galaxy’s Tom Payne was named president of business operations by Anschutz Entertainment Group.
From the (edited) press release:
Payne will oversee all of the Galaxy’s business operations, including corporate partnerships, ticket sales, marketing, programming, communications, broadcasting, operations and community development. Payne, who has been with the organization for six seasons, will report directly to AEG President Tim Leiweke.
“From the start, there was no doubt that Tom was the ideal person to take on this new position within the Galaxy,” said Leiweke. “With his vast knowledge of soccer and MLS, Tom has the respect of the staff, the players and the fans and will now play an even bigger role in helping this club to grow and become more successful. Despite our struggles on the field, Tom has done an outstanding job on the business side and together with (Coach) Bruce (Arena), we are confident that with their leadership, next year will be a positive one for us.”
Payne, 44, carries with him an extensive background in the sports and entertainment industry. He has worked for the Galaxy since 2003 and previously served as the club’s Assistant General Manager (2006-08) and Vice President of Programming and Business Development (2003-05). He was instrumental in opening a number of additional revenue streams for the club, including negotiating international exhibitions against teams such as Yokohama F. Marinos, the Korean National Team, Real Madrid and Chelsea F.C. Payne has also been instrumental in helping the Galaxy lead MLS in attendance in all six of his years with the club, including an MLS-best average of 26,009 fans per game in 2008, which is the second highest single season average attendance in MLS history.
Arena, you’ll recall, is GM on the soccer side of things for the Galaxy. And in case you were wondering, yes, Payne is the brother of D.C. United GM Kevin Payne.