Danny Villanueva Sr., Former President of the LA Galaxy, Has Passed Away
CARSON, Calif. - The LA Galaxy are in mourning after the announcement of the passing of the club's first president Danny Villanueva Sr.
One of the founding owners of the Galaxy, Villanueva died on Thursday due to complications from a stroke. He was 77.
Villanueva was appointed the club's president and general manager when he and others including primary investor Marc Rapaport founded the club in 1994. With Villanueva at the helm, the Galaxy reached MLS Cup in 1996 as the team quickly established itself as one of the premier clubs in the fledgling league. Villanueva was also instrumental in helping the Galaxy add players like Cobi Jones, Mauricio Cienfuegos and Kevin Hartman who would all go onto to become club legends.
He served as president and general manager until 1998 when Anschutz Entertainment Group purchased the team and Tim Leiweke took over as club president.
In his youth, Villanueva was one of the first Latino players in the National Football League, serving as a place kicker for the Los Angeles Rams and the Dallas Cowboys in the 1960s. After football, he moved into broadcasting where he rose through the ranks at Spanish-language television station KMEX eventually moving from sports broadcaster to president and part owner of the network.
Born to Mexican parents in Tucumcari, New Mexico, he was the ninth of 12 children. He remained in New Mexico through college attending New Mexico State where he flourished as a place kicker, and was eventually placed in the club's hall of fame in 2007. He is survived by his wife, Myrna; sons Danny and Jim; five grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren.
On behalf of LAGalaxy.com and everyone with the LA Galaxy, we wish our sincerest condolences to the Villanueva family.
The LA Galaxy will hold a moment of silence for Villanueva before tonight's match against the Philadelphia Union.
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