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Michael Lewis

Michael Lewis

April 12, 2010
It's a small world, after all

By Michael Lewis Editor

What a small world, indeed.

Because of some heavy rain this morning, I put off making a bunch of copies at Staples until Friday afternoon and who do I run into at the store?

Mike Lamm, the son of former U.S. Soccer Federation executive secretary Kurt Lamm, who guided the organization for some 16 years.

Actually, I was making some copies of stories from Soccer Week. He was waiting for a copier and noticed what I was copying. He commented that he had that publication once, but gave it to the National Soccer Hall of Fame. Hmmm, I knew I wasn't talking to just another sports or soccer fan.

We introduced ourselves and we took the conversation from there. Unfortunately, the talk was way too short, but I know it will be continued sometime soon.

As it turns out, I met Kurt several times in the past, the first time when I visited the federation's old offices in the Empire State Building in 1983-84 or so. While I was waiting outside his office, I noticed this soccer publication from the tri-state area, Soccer Week. They had several copies of it and they allowed me to take it home. I put in for an annual subscriptions (40 issues for $20, and it was worth it). At the time, I was working in Rochester, N.Y. I eventually moved down to New York, became an editor and eventually publisher of Soccer Week.

Kurt died at the age of 78 in 1987. Unfortunately, he did not live long enough to see the U.S. qualify for its first World Cup in 40 years in 1990 or to host it four years later. But Lamm certainly left his mark on the game during some difficult times from 1971-1987.

An immigrant from Germany, he came to the United States on Aug. 14, 1936, just in time before all hell broke loose in Germany and Europe. He began playing soccer as a goalkeeper, but eventually became a defender for several New York clubs, including the Prospect Unity Club, New York Americans and Eintracht before becoming secretary of New York Hakoah (three consecutive American Soccer League titles in the midway fifties) and vice president of the ASL.

Not surprisingly, Kurt was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 1979.

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