George John named 2010 recipient of AHEPA Harry Agganis Award

WASHINGTON, D.C. – FC Dallas defender George John joined elite company Saturday as the 2010 recipient of The Fraternal Order of American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association’s Harry Agganis Award.

“The Golden Greek Harry Agganis was and still is a legend not only for the way he excelled in sports with passion and determination, but also in how he lived his life as a Greek-American,” said John. “It is a tremendous joy and a very humbling experience to be named a recipient of this award. To join the short list of Greek-American athletes honored with the Harry Agganis Award is something that will be cherished for the rest of my life.”

Previous recipients of the award include Baltimore Orioles outfielder Nick Markakis, NFL placekicker Matt Stover, Olympic diving champion Greg Louganis, decathlete Tom Pappas and five-time NFL pro-bowler Fred Smerlas.

Selected 14th overall (first round) in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft, John played in 16 matches as a rookie and has started 18 games in central defense this season. The Dallas defense is on pace to allow the fewest goals against in club history, having given up just 16 goals in 18 games so far this season. He scored his first goal of the 2010 season off a header against UEFA Champions League winner Inter Milan on Aug. 5.

Named the Pac-10 Male Soccer Athlete of the Year in 2008, John captained the University of Washington Huskies for two seasons. He earned NSCAA Scholar All-American honors in 2007 and 2008, and was a three-time Pac-10 All-Academic selection.

“I am proud of my Greek culture and heritage,” said John. “I have been active in the Greek community my whole life and have a very strong sense of pride for being Greek, which has molded me into the man I am today. I hope to become an active member of AHEPA and participate in the education and progression of Hellenes in America.”

The AHEPA award is named for former Boston Red Sox first baseman Harry Agganis. Nicknamed “The Golden Greek," Agganis is a legend among the Greek-American community. Prior to his premature death of a massive pulmonary embolism at the age of 26 in June 1956, Agganis was batting .313 for the Red Sox with a .458 slugging percentage. Raised in Lynn, Mass., Agganis attended Boston University where he played both football and baseball, later declining an offer from the Cleveland Browns in favor of playing professional baseball.