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Hall of Fame Spotlight - Graham Tutt (2012)

Graham Tutt became a professional goalkeeper for London’s Charlton Athletic the day after graduating from high school at the age of 17. Graham made 78 first-team appearances for Charlton and earned league promotion from Division III to Division II within three seasons. Acknowledged by the Football Association as The Most Promising Young Player in 1975, he was selected in 1976 to play in the England Under-21 Squad against Holland at Wembley Stadium.  Newcastle United was ready to bid for him.

At the age of 19, Tutt was kicked in the face at Sunderland in a promotional bid game to Division 1 that ended his professional playing career. Graham sustained a broken cheekbone, broken nose, lacerations to his eyelid and internal damage to his right eye that caused permanent double vision.  After two eye operations and 18 months recovery, he signed a two-year contract with top-ranked South African club Arcadia Pepsi.  In his second season with Arcadia, the South African National Sports Press voted him Goalkeeper of the Year and he made the South African All Star Team.

Next, Graham played for Ohio’s Columbus Magic.  His selection to the American Soccer League’s All Star Team brought an offer from TV mogul Ted Turner to join the Atlanta Chiefs.  Graham ranked in the Top Five Best Goalkeepers in the league as a member of The Chiefs Indoor (Omni) and Outdoor (Fulton County Stadium) 1981 Eastern Divisional Championship teams. When the Chiefs folded after the 1981 seasons, Tutt joined the Georgia Generals outdoor ASL franchise, where he was voted The Fan’s Most Popular Player.

When the Generals folded in 1982, Graham chose to stay in Atlanta to promote soccer by running camps and offering free school clinics. Graham developed the first indoor soccer facility in Georgia and then created a 26-acre, seven-field soccer facility called Canterbury Park with investor friend Chuck Wolf. Graham was instrumental in establishing the Atlanta Attack Pro-Indoor Soccer Team that played out of The Omni for two years.  After the franchise was sold to Kansas City, Graham coached the Life University soccer team to national Top 10 ranking for 9 seasons, with an outstanding record of 189 won–38 lost–13 tied.

Graham played striker and goalkeeper in the Atlanta District Amateur Soccer League for eight seasons, until 1988.  He was Top Goal Scorer for the Anheuser Busch Eagles, then played for Cobb Adult FC, and finished his playing career at Datagraphic Soccer Club, where he was awarded Player of The Year for three consecutive seasons.

At their 2005 Centenary celebration, Charlton Athletic named Graham Tutt their Goalkeeper of the Decade – 70’s.

By 2012, more than 38,000 youth players have attended the Graham Tutt Summer Soccer Camps and he had made more than 250 school appearancesThat same year, Graham hosted a series of television community spotlight shows focused on giving positive exposure and raising funds for various Atlanta area youth soccer facilities and was inducted into the Georgia Soccer Hall of Fame.

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