Kevin Payne, former President of the Toronto FC MLS franchise, passed away on Christmas Day at the age of 69. According to the reports, Payne passed away in Charleston, South Carolina, due to complications from lung disease.
The entire US and Canadian soccer community has gathered together to mourn the legend of Kevin Payne, the man who revolutionized club soccer in the USA. A number of renowned soccer players from around the world have paid their respects.
Payne was a member of the management staff for two different Major League Soccer teams, Toronto FC and DC United. Payne served as the President and GM of D.C. United between the years of 1994 to 2001 and then had a tenure of from 2004 to 2012, as the President and CEO of the team.
In addition to his time at DC United, he also served as president of Toronto FC from 2012 to 2013 and was on the Board of Governors of Major League Soccer for 18 years. His last job in the league was as the executive director and CEO of US Club Soccer from 2015-2021.
Payne is believed to be instrumental in the creation of the MLS and is remembered by many for creating the first Major League Soccer dynasty at DC United. During his career with DC United
the club was able to win four MLS titles and two U.S. Open Cups.
Payne was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2021 due to his contributions to the sport in North America.
Kevin Payne at Toronto FC
While Payne spent most of his time in MLS with DC United, he was a very important part in where Toronto FC here today. Despite being fired by the team in September of 2013, he was able to make a number of key acquisitions that set up the team for years to come.
TFC was in horrible shape before Payne was brought into the picture, taking over as the general manager to a team which had only won 45 matches in 6 seasons.