Just left a message for Kyle Rote Jr. congratulating him on his pending induction into the U.S. National Soccer Hall of Fame, which was announced quietly last week but is making the rounds today. Suffice it to say, he was my childhood hero -- a native son (of a local sports legend) who was playing for Lamar Hunt's Dallas Tornado 'round the same time I was staggering all over area soccer fields. Met him a dozen times when I was a kid; had the complete set of SuperStar Soccer how-to cards; and attended one of his camps before I finally ditched the shin guards for the swimming pool. The way my dad felt about Willie Mays, I felt about Kyle Rote Jr.
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Anyway. He's in Memphis now, running Athletic Resource Management. Has been since forever -- matter of fact, as I wrote back in '97, that's why Rote didn't become the first coach of the Dallas Sidekicks. Don Carter wanted him, but Rote opted instead to stay in Memphis, which is how he landed Gordon Jago instead. Regardless, Rote'll go into the Hall as a Tornado. Damn right he will. I hope he calls back.