There would be no Columbus Crew without Lamar Hunt.

There would be no Columbus Crew without Lamar Hunt.

In fact, it's no understatement to say there would be no Major League Soccer without Hunt, who died December 13, 2006. The pioneering American sportsman put his oil money on the line time and time again to advance soccer in the United States, investments that continue to pay dividends for the sport.

So it's fitting that on the day Hunt's other MLS team, FC Dallas, came to town, the Crew unveiled a bronze statue of the team founder outside Crew Stadium. Hunt paid for the facility out of his own pocket to keep the Crew in Columbus when renovations forced the Black and Gold out of Ohio Stadium.

Hunt's history with sports went well beyond the Crew. Consider some of his other accomplishments and affiliations:

•When his bid for an NFL expansion team was turned down and plans to buy the Chicago Cardinals fell through, Hunt teamed with other spurned NFL owners to form the American Football League in 1959.

•The Dallas Texans, the AFL team Hunt founded in 1959, moved to Kansas City in 1963 and became the Chiefs.

•When the NFL and AFL pitted their champions against each other for the first time in 1967, Hunt coined the term "Super Bowl." He was inspired by his kids' Super Ball toy.

•He co-founded the North American Soccer League, a predecessor to MLS that operated from 1967-1984. The NASL surged in the late '70s when the New York Cosmos assembled a roster of international stars including Brazil's Pele and Germany's Franz Beckenbauer.

•Hunt was a founder and minority owner of the Chicago Bulls.

•Though he helped the late John H. McConnell bring the NHL to Columbus, Hunt lost a lawsuit that gave McConnell full control of the Columbus Blue Jackets.

•In 1999, the United States Soccer Federation renamed the U.S. Open Cup, the oldest domestic soccer tournament in North America, to the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

Speaking of the tournament that bears Hunt's name: The Crew faced DC United in an Open Cup semifinal after press time Wednesday and will remain in the nation's capital until Saturday, when they face United again in a regularly scheduled MLS match.