Noel Lemon is one of the pioneers of the modern professional era of American soccer. He brought an NASL Championship to Oklahoma with the Tulsa Roughnecks and the ASL and National Championship to Florida's Ft. Lauderdale Strikers. The effects of the Strikers on the South Florida community is still endeared to this day. The Chamber of Commerce recognition award (below) was presented to the club after winning the National title.
Lemon was also instrumental in bringing top level international soccer to the United States when almost none existed. He organized the Marlboro Cup - a star studded international event that allowed the US National Team to prepare for their first World Cup in 40 years and give Americans the taste for quality international soccer.
During his tenure as GM of the Roughnecks, the club toured Britain and played against some of the historied clubs such as Cardiff City (Wales), Leicester City, Portsmouth and Derby County (England), as well as clubs from Holland and Bermuda.
The gift that was exchanged between Tulsa and Derby Couty F.C. (below) was this magnifcent statue of a ram - the nickname of Derby County club.
The Marlboro Cup (played from 1987 to 1990) hosted in several American cities, included visits from Millionarios, America de Cali and Atletico Nacional (Colombia), Colo-colo (Chile), Sporting Cristal and Alianza Lima (Peru), Benfica and Sporting (Portugal), Club America and Atlas (Mexico), Juventus (Italy) and Flamengo (Brazil).
The US World Cup Team was also able to play other National sides from South Korea, Uruguay, Colombia, Costa Rica, Russia and Poland.
The silver presentation coupet (above) was made by the famous Tiffany & Company. It is one of the many fine gifts exchanged during the tournament which was held at various times in Miami, New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.
"This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to exhibit these artifacts" says I.S.A. Historical Director Chuck Zsolnai. "We are pleased that Noel's work and the legacy from this era of American Soccer will be preserved for future generations."
There are plans for a touring exhibit and the artifacts will be available for other museums to loan and organizations to research.