Tribute to Dick Cecil
Released November 3, 2023
With this bonus episode, we wanted to take a moment to honor and remember Dick Cecil. He was a pioneer of Atlanta soccer during a time when professional sports in Atlanta were forming their identities. He led the way for Atlanta soccer. Sadly, he passed away in August.
Cecil’s career began in baseball, as a scout for the Atlanta Major League Baseball franchise before taking on various roles within the organization. He worked his way up to Vice President of the club.
When they decided to start a soccer club in Atlanta in 1966, Cecil jumped in to lead the effort. He recruited Phil Woosnam to coach the team. The two of them would often go on recruiting trips together to places like France, Sweden, Zambia and Ghana to scout players who would be a good fit for this new endeavor. Together, Cecil and Woosnam assembled the team that would take the field in 1967 as the Atlanta Chiefs and win the NASL title a year later. Cecil would go on to serve as President and Co-Owner of the Atlanta Chiefs in their second iteration from 1979 to 1981.
Cecil would serve many important roles in the soccer community. He acted as Chairman acted as Chairman of the National Professional Soccer League's Players Committee, founding Director of the NASL. He was a consultant to Coca-Coca USA on domestic soccer programs, director of the east coast football venues for the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee, producer of the 1986 FIF/UNICEF World All-Star Games, consultant to the 1994 World Cup USA and consultant to the 1996 Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games.
In 1997, he was inducted into the Georgia Soccer Hall of Fame.
We actually hoped to interview Dick Cecil for our project because of his role in the history of Atlanta soccer. He was on our list of what we called “the big gets,” the home run hitters. While we weren’t able to interview him, he was ever-present in our interviews. His name and place in Atlanta soccer will not be forgotten – and his legacy to Atlanta soccer will remain strong.
Our guests Andre` Lamont, Patrick Sullivan and Jason Longshore spent some time with Cecil during his life. In our episode, they reflect on who he was as a person and the legacy he created in Atlanta: