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8 Big League Team Owners Employing World Cup Talent

PORTLAND, Ore. (TheStreet) -- Just how much do owners of major U.S. sports teams know or care about the World Cup?

Quite a bit, actually.

One of the wonders of the global marketplace is the ability to influence various sports on multiple continents just by having the capital to fund them. Entrepreneur and financial services mastermind Thomas di Benedetto is a member of the Boston Red Sox ownership group. He's been an owner of Italian Serie A club A.S. Roma and, briefly, its president.

Former MBNA Chairman Randy Lerner owns Aston Villa of the English Premier League, but also had controlling interest in the Cleveland Browns. Lamar Hunt not only helped build the North American Soccer League and Major League Soccer, but did so after founding the American Football League and owning its Kansas City Chiefs. The U.S. Open Cup soccer tournament -- an open competition between all U.S. professional soccer leagues that has taken place since 1914 -- was named after him.

There are plenty of other owners in U.S. professional sports that share a love of soccer and have invested millions in owning and operating soccer clubs around the world. The following eight have not only managed to multitask, but did so while employing soccer talent that made it onto national team rosters throughout this World Cup:

Shahid Khan
U.S. team: Jacksonville Jaguars (NFL)
Soccer team: Fulham (EPL)

When he's not ripping thousands of seats out of EverBank Field, installing pools and cabanas and trying to keep is NFL franchise in one of the league's smallest markets viable, Illinois-based auto parts magnate Shahid Khan is a soccer guy.

In 2013, more than a year after buying the Jaguars, Khan bought London-based English Premier League club Fulham for an estimated $300 million to $400 million. Fulham played so poorly in the ensuing season it was relegated to the Premier League's second tier, immediately erasing much of its value.

Still, the club has been competitive in recent years, taking second place in the UEFA Europa League in 2010, and has produced such World Cup-worthy alums as England coach Roy Hodgson and U.S. captain Clint Dempsey. Even in a dreadful season that resulted in Fulham's expulsion from the EPL's top echelon, Fulham managed to field a squad that included World Cup talent midfielder Ashkan Dejagah of Iran and strikers Kostas Mitroglou of Greece and Hugo Rodallega of Colombia.

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