’09 Hall of Fame Honoree Alex Yannis Dies
National Soccer Hall of Fame honoree Alex Yannis, who covered Pelé’s American soccer career and the rising popularity of the sport in America for The New York Times, has died. He was 84.
Yannis received the Hall of Fame’s 2009 Colin Jose Media Award, which honors journalists whose careers have made significant long-term contributions to soccer in the United States.
Born in Greece, Yannis sold newspapers in Paris for the International Herald Tribune, which was then co-owned by the Times. He and his wife and son moved to America, and he became an editorial assistant for the Times in 1967.
He covered the 1974 World Cup in West Germany, where he met Pelé before covering his transfer to the New York Cosmos the next year. After Pelé’s farewell match in 1977, Yannis wrote: “Pelé is to soccer what Shakespeare is to the English language: He puts it all together.”
Yannis covered college soccer, the fall of the North American Soccer League and the debut of Major League soccer — along with three World Cups — before he retired from the Times in 2004.