2016 Lifetime Achievement Award
Winner: Mr. Samir Haj
Former ASSA President with Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient, Samir Haj
Samir was born in Kuwait and played soccer his whole life. After he finished high school he was selected for the Kuwait National team and played all over Europe and Asia.
He came to the United States for college, starting at Paris Junior College and then transferring to University of North Texas, where he played soccer. In addition to playing for the Mean Green, Samir started coaching youth teams in North Texas and found the career he loved.
He moved to Arkansas in 1977 to attend graduate school at the University of Arkansas, to pursue his masters in sports management. He found there was no organized soccer in Arkansas so he decided to do something about it. He traveled throughout NW Arkansas setting up youth soccer programs. He founded the Fayetteville Soccer Association and then started the Arkansas State Soccer Association with fellow soccer enthusiast, Joe Clark with a membership of about 100 kids State-wide.
Samir holds a USSF A license, along with many positions at different times with ASSA and the Region III staff. He has served as the grilling staff for the Comets as well as ASSA! Some of the best meals we have had!!
Samir started and coached the Arkansas Diamonds, a semi-pro team that played out of Little Rock in the 80’s and 90’s. He returned briefly to the semi-pro world for two years in 2009, with the Arkansas Comets women’s team.
In 1993 Samir started the Fayetteville Comets with a U13 Boys team, hence the beginning of the Comets. He then grew the club team by team. He also coached the Fayetteville High School Girls and Boys team for 11 years with much success.
At the end of this year, while continuing to be very involved, Samir has chosen to take a small step back from the day to day operations of the Comets Club and will focus more of his time on the things he loves most. The Arkansas Comets Foundation which will run quality soccer leagues, conduct community outreach to assist with soccer organizations’ growth and facility development, provide scholarship assistance for players, and help players prepare for college.
Samir is the kind of guy that can make you look at things totally different. He always is thinking outside the box, sometimes way outside!! We are proud to present the first ever Lifetime Achievement Award to Samir Haj.