CLASS OF 2018: Dr. Robert "Bob" Contiguglia Elected to National Soccer Hall of Fame
FRISCO - Technically, Dr. Bob Contiguglia didn’t make soccer his career. But he did make it his passion, and soccer in the United States is immensely better for it. The impact on the game of a man who was president of both US Youth Soccer and the U.S. Soccer Federation will be forever recognized in October when he is inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame.
A lifelong (and mostly volunteer) servant of the game, “Dr. Bob”, as he’s affectionately known, is a retired Nephrologist who practiced for 40 years. He’s also a Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of Colorado.
Contiguglia played and coached soccer at various stages of his life, earning a USSF ‘A’ License in 1980. Throughout his adult life he maintained an active involvement in the game and his experiences are as numerous as they are varied. He has coached youth and adult teams since 1970, including positions as the US Youth Soccer ODP Director of Coaching and the Colorado Youth Soccer coaching instructor. He also served as a US Youth Soccer ODP Girls Region IV administrator from 1988 to 1990.
Contiguglia established professionalism, fiscal responsibility and financial stability for US Youth Soccer while serving as the president from 1990 to 1996. From 1990 until earlier this year, Contiguglia served on the U.S. Soccer Federation board of directors, serving as president from 1998 to 2006.
At a time when soccer was often an afterthought to many adult sports fans in the United States, Contiguglia presided over the Federation during a general awakening to the sport in the American public consciousness. The U.S. Women’s National Team won the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 1999 and an Olympic Gold Medal in Athens in 2004. In 2002, the Men’s National Team reached the quarterfinals of the FIFA World Cup for the first time in 72 years.
Perhaps it was his life as a doctor, or perhaps it was his time living through the evolution of soccer in the United States and working with all ages of soccer players, but Dr. Contiguglia has always seemed to understand and appreciate the vast potential of the game in this country. In 2010, he was presented the Werner Fricker Builder Award, given to an individual who worked tirelessly to further the sport of soccer without regard to personal recognition or advancement.
“Soccer puts balance in my life,” Contiguglia once said. He played soccer himself at Columbia University, and encouraged his children to play when they were old enough. He has participated in coaching clinics all over the world, and currently serves on the National Player Development Committee.
While the pursuit of making soccer the preeminent sport in the U.S. is a long-term mission, Dr. Bob has been around long enough to see some of the dividends, and youth soccer has been at the heart of that. Doing work that helped provide experienced coaches and specific programs for young soccer players to reach their highest potential has surely benefitted U.S. Soccer greatly, but it’s also provided a productive outlet for countless players who, like Contiguglia, have gone on to succeed in careers outside of the sport.
Hank Steinbrecher, a Hall of Fame member in his own right who served as U.S. Soccer’s Secretary General for the entirety of the nineties, had the honor of informing his former colleague and life-long friend of his Hall of Fame induction.
Hall of Fame Resume
Dr. Bob Contiguglia, Builder
Former President, U.S. Soccer (1998-2006)
Former President, U.S. Youth Soccer (1990-1996)
Currently – Enjoying retirement and coaching a U-12 soccer team
Dr. Bob Contiguglia served as President of U.S. Soccer from August, 1998 until March, 2006. U.S. Soccer reached several important milestones during his tenure, including a U.S. Women’s National Team victory in the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup and an Olympic Gold Medal won by the U.S. Women’s National Team at the 2004 Athens Olympics. The Great Neck, NY native and Denver, CO resident also served as the President of U.S. Youth Soccer from 1990-96.