John O. Best

A longtime FIFA international referee, one of the first Americans to achieve that distinction. Best, who came to the United States from England as a teenager in 1929, played for a number of amateur teams in the Chicago area during the 1930s before turning to refereeing.

Best was certified as a FIFA referee in 1948 and kept that role until 1963. He was linesman at the 1948 Olympic Games in London and a referee at the 1955 Pan-American Games in Mexico City, where he handed 10 games in 12 days. He also officiated at numerous international club fixtures around the world, 33 games in all, and became the first U.S. referee to receive FIFA’s Special Award for sevice in at least 20 international matches.

He became commissioner of the California Soccer Association-South in 1962 and was instrumental in getting the California association affiliated with the U.S. Soccer Football Association. He served as vice president of the USSFA from 1967 to 1974 and from 1976 to 1979.

Inducted in 1982.