Washington, D.C. (August 26, 2009) - D.C. United today announced former forward Raúl Díaz Arce and former team broadcaster Danilo Noel Dirón will be inducted to the club’s Hall of Tradition on September 12 as the team battles Seattle Sounders FC. Kick-off for the match is set for 7:30 p.m. ET with the induction ceremonies to be held at halftime. Club executives and playing alumni named Díaz Arce a finalist for United’s ultimate individual honor before he was selected as this year’s Hall inductee by a fan vote conducted on dcunited.com. Dirón has been posthumously elected by the Hall of Tradition committee in honor of his broadcasting career as a color analyst for D.C. United games on Radio America 1540 AM.
The induction will highlight United’s celebration of the Fourth Annual Latin American Festival presented by RCN as a kick-off to Hispanic Heritage Month. The event will give fans a great opportunity to celebrate the culture, music, cuisine and sport of Latin America. The pre-game fiesta will commence at 4:00 p.m. in Lot 8 of RFK Stadium and will remain open until kickoff.
The festival is open to the public and will feature live music from La Máquina de El Salvador, Brazilian drum band Batala and a salsa dance show. In addition, Alba Galindo and Natalia Sáenz, the two “Senadora” models on Univision’s popular weekly sports show “República Deportiva” (Sports Republic) will be making an appearance from 5:00 - 7:00 p.m.
Associate sponsors of the Latin American Festival include Volkswagen, RIA Financial, Amtrak and Cox Communications. For more information or to purchase tickets for the game against Seattle, please call 202-587-5000 or visit www.dcunited.com
A fan favorite and original member of D.C. United, Raul Diaz Arce will be remembered as one of the most prolific scorers in the club’s history. Diaz Arce’s goals helped the Black-and-Red capture two MLS Cup trophies (1996 and 1997), a U.S. Open Cup championship (1996) and the Supporters’ Shield trophy (1997). The Salvadoran icon was United’s top goal scorer with 23 goals during the 1996 season and ranked second in the League behind Tampa Bay’s Roy Lassiter. Diaz Arce is the club’s second all-time leading goal scorer with 44 goals in 68 games and ranks first with an average of 0.65 goals per game.
“It is truly an honor to be inducted into the D.C. United Hall of Tradition and to join great players such as John Harkes, Marco Etcheverry and Jeff Agoos,” said Diaz Arce. “I have great memories of my time in DC and the great support I received from the fans, especially from the Salvadoran community. I want to thank United for this great honor, my former teammates and my family for all of their support through out my career.”
Diaz Arce was the first player in MLS history to score a hat trick in post season play, striking three times in Game One of the 1996 Eastern Conference finals against Tampa Bay. United won the game 4-1 and would go on to become the first MLS Cup champions. Diaz Arce played six seasons in MLS, three with United (1996-1997, 2000-2001) and, at the time he ended his MLS career in 2001, he was second in career goals with 82.
“It is altogether fitting that Raul Diaz Arce is inducted into the D.C. United Hall of Tradition,” said United President and CEO Kevin Payne. “From the day he arrived at our first training camp in California and we saw him running on his own in the early morning fog, he set a standard for hard work and commitment that remains unmatched. Raul was a great goal-scorer, a great teammate, and a great ambassador for D.C. United. I am thrilled that he was chosen by our fans for this honor and look forward to seeing him on September 12th.”
Dirón, a native of Uruguay, was a fixture on United’s Spanish-language radio broadcasts. Since 1997, Danilo served as Radio America’s color analyst, calling more than 400 games for the Black-and-Red. In addition to his duties as United’s color analyst, Danilo was the host of the popular “La Mesa Redonda del Futbol” (Round Table) radio program, a daily soccer-only show broadcast on Radio America. Dirón passed away October 10, 2008 following an eight-year battle with cancer.
“On behalf of my daughters, Paula and Lorena, I want to thank D.C. United for this great tribute to my late husband,” said Teresa Diron. “Danilo had two passions in his life, the radio station and his beloved United. We miss him dearly, but we are very proud and honored that his legacy will carry on through the D.C. United Hall of Tradition.”
“I'm not sure anyone has ever loved D.C. United more than Danilo Diron, and all of us loved him right back,” added Payne. “He was a true friend in good times and bad. The grace and strength with which he handled his illness and final days were inspiring to all of us. It will be an honor for D.C. United to add Danilo’s name alongside Betty D’Anjolell’s as a reminder of the traditions, and people, that have made our club great.”
As the most successful organization in the history of United States professional soccer, D.C. United has been represented by some of the most talented players and staff in Major League Soccer history. Whether on the field or in the front office, inductees to the Hall of Tradition have been integral to the success of the Black-and-Red. Through the Hall, D.C. United and the club’s legendary supporters pay homage to those enshrined within. Created in 2003 in conjunction with the induction of John Harkes, the Hall of Tradition is an eternal home for lasting memories of United’s greatest successes and most influential components. Other inductees include midfielder Marco Etcheverry (2007), as well as defender Jeff Agoos and front office employee Betty D’Anjolell (2008). In order to be eligible as a former player, an individual must have been retired as a player for at least two (2) years, but no more than 10 years, played at least three (3) seasons for D.C. United and appeared in 50 or more League games. From a group achieving those credentials, two finalists are selected the result of private voting by club owners, executives and former players.
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