Clay Berling

The founder and for decades the driving force behind Soccer America magazine, a publication that became a rallying point for American soccer fans during the boom years of the sport in the United States.

Berling, an Oakland, Calif., insurance agent, founded Soccer America in 1971 after having become interested in the sport though his family’s attendance at NASL games. Although he had no previous involvement with the sport, he eventually became an official of the California State Soccer Association-North and a member of the committees that administered the San Francisco Bay area’s hosting of games in the 1994 World Cup and the 1999 Women’s World Cup.

Soccer America started as a few mimeographed sheets, a far cry from the large weekly magazine it would become. But Berling several times had to face very difficult financial hurdles in keeping the publication going. In the end, Soccer America became the greatest chronicler of news of the sport in the United States, from the NASL era through the boom of the 1990s, the upsurge of women’s soccer, the 1994 World Cup, the start of Major League Soccer and other events.

Inducted in 1995.