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Aug. 8, 2006

COLUMBUS, Ohio – In honor of the individuals who first brought professional soccer to Ohio in 1979, the annual season-opening tournament hosted by the Ohio State men’s soccer team will now be known as The Bert and Iris Wolstein Soccer Classic Hosted by The Ohio State University. OSU head coach John Bluem made the announcement this week in conjunction with Iris Wolstein, who together with her husband, the late Bert Wolstein (2004), have been actively involved with the OSU athletics department for many years.

From 1979 to 1988 Bert L. Wolstein was the owner and president of the Cleveland Force, a professional indoor soccer team in the Major Indoor Soccer League. Since then, the Wolstein’s support of athletics has included a major contribution in 2001 to the Ohio Stadium renovation project, which prompted the dedication of the Iris S. and Bert L. Wolstein Football Center in the southeast tower.

“We are very pleased that Iris has allowed us to name our tournament in her and Bert’s honor,” Bluem said. “Their support of The Ohio State University, the sport of soccer and various other worthy causes is astonishing.”

This year, the tournament will be held Aug. 25-27 in OSU’s Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium and will include Penn State, Furman and Bluem’s alma mater, Hartwick. In the 10 seasons with Bluem at the helm, Ohio State has hosted an early season tournament every year except one. Last year, the tournament featured eventual national runner-up New Mexico. OSU is 10-7-1 all-time in its tournament.

“We believe our tournament is one of the premier events of the NCAA college soccer season and provides a great opportunity for Division I programs from around the country to compete against each other,” Bluem said. “Being able to associate our tournament with Iris and Bert will certainly add considerable credibility to the event.”

The Wolstein couple is known for their philanthropic works as well as their prowess in the real estate development business throughout the United States. Ohio State is among several institutions of higher education that have benefited from the Wolstein’s contributions, including Case Western Reserve, Cleveland State and Hiram College. Among their endeavors are The Iris S. and Bert L. Wolstein Medical Research Building at University Hospital and Case Western Reserve University, The Iris S. and Bert L Wolstein Hall at Case Western Reserve University, The Bert L. Wolstein Hall at Cleveland State University School of Law, The Iris S. and Bert L. Wolstein Convocation Center and Cleveland State University and The Iris S. and Bert L. Wolstein Center at United Cerebral Palsy.

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