US SoccerUS Soccer

U.S. Soccer Mourns Loss of Werner Fricker (1936 - 2001)

CHICAGO (Friday, June 1, 2001) -

"The U.S. Soccer family is deeply saddened to have lost one of our own with the passing of Werner Fricker on Wednesday (May 30). Werner was a true U.S. soccer pioneer and will be remembered by everyone involved in the sport as we continue to reap the benefits of his leadership across more than 40 years of involvement at the game's highest levels. Werner was instrumental in advancing U.S. Soccer during his presidency in the 1980s, and without his leadership and personal commitment the U.S. would never have earned the right to host the 1994 FIFA World Cup. To his family and friends we are offer our heartfelt condolences."

- Dr. S. Robert Contiguglia, U.S. Soccer President

%=macropart|font/arialBlue3=%Werner Fricker (January 24, 1936 - May 30, 2001)

  • Past-President of the United States Soccer Federation (1986-1990)
  • Inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame (1992)
  • Born - January 24, 1936, Karlsdorf, Yugoslavia

%=macropart|font/arialBlue2=%BRIEF BIOGRAPHY OF WERNER FRICKER

Moved with his family to Austria at the end of World War II and emigrated to the United States in 1952. President of the U.S. Soccer Federation from 1986 to 1990, during which time he led the successful bid to obtain the 1994 World Cup for the United States. Captained the United German-Hungarians team of Philadelphia from 1958 to 1969, including the National Amateur Cup winning team of 1965 and the teams defeated in the finals of 1964 and 1970. Internationally, Fricker was a member of the U.S. National Team which attempted to qualify for the 1964 Olympics. As an administrator, he also served on the executive committee of CONCACAF and was chairman of the CONCACAF Finance Committee.

%=macropart|font/arialBlue2=%FUNERAL ARRANGEMENTS

Werner J. Fricker, 65, died Wednesday, May 30, 2001, at his home after a brief illness. Relatives and friends may call as follows:

Date: Monday, June 4, 2001
Time: 10 a.m. ET
Place: St. Catherine of Sienna RC Church

321 Witmer Road
Horsham, PA 19044
Funeral Mass: 1 p.m. ET

Internment will be in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Cheltenham

Remembrances in his name may be made to ...


... for the children's soccer and cultural activities at the German Hungarian Club and sent to:

Michael Wagner
United German Hungarian Club
4666 Bristol Road
Oakford, PA 19053

From the "Eastern Montgomery County Edition of THE INTELLIGENCER" (Doylestown, Pa.)

%=macropart|font/arialBlue3=%WERNER FRICKER - BUILDER, SOCCER DEVOTEE - DIES AT 65
HORSHAM, Pa. (Friday, June 1, 2001) - Werner Fricker's life was a true rags-to-riches story, one filled with determination, hard work and a passion for soccer. Fricker, 65, a successful Horsham-based developer and the man who helped bring soccer's World Cup to the United States in 1994, died Wednesday night after a year long battle with cancer.

"He loved to play the game; he was a man of the game," said Werner Jr. of his father's affinity for soccer.

He was a star midfielder for the United German Hungarians of Philadelphia soccer club from 1954 to 1969, was a member of the 1964 U.S. Olympic Team and was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 1992.

However, it was as an administrator - Fricker was president of the U.S. Soccer Federation from 1984 to 1990 - that he made his greatest impact. He helped build soccer in this country and led the successful bid to host the 1994 World Cup.

"It was always dad's mission for the U.S. teams to do well (internationally)," his son said. "He wanted us to kick butt and be able to play with the rest of the world. And for us to host the 1994 World Cup, that was all part of it."

Fricker was born in Karlsdorf, Yugoslavia, of German and Hungarian heritage. During World War II, he and his family were forced to flee to Austria.

"My parents were quite well-to-do in Yugoslavia," Fricker Sr. recalled in a 1998 article in The Intelligencer and The Record. "They had nothing in Austria. They left overnight from Yugoslavia and left everything there. They took only a few suitcases and some boxes and left everything else behind, including their parents."

Fricker and his parents worked 70-hour weeks in a shoe factory.

In the early 1950s, the family came to this country, to Willow Grove (Pa.), where a few relatives had previously settled.

He learned carpentry and in 1953 started his first construction company, Fricker Building Construction. Over the years, Fricker Corp., which he created in 1963, has built approximately 30 developments in Montgomery and Bucks counties.

Fricker also served as chairman of the Horsham Industrial and Commercial Development Authority (1981-1989) and owned the Homestead Restaurant and Avalon Grill, both in Horsham. He was a delegate to the 1984 Republican National Convention and a member of the Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority Board of Directors (1981-1998).

"He was demanding but fair," said Vivian Noble, who has worked for Fricker Corp. for 33 years. "He was a very positive thinker and he definitely felt that whatever he made up his mind to do, he could do it. And he proved it."

In the 1998 interview, Fricker stated: "As long as you want to work hard, there will be help, but you have to prove that you're a hard worker and that you're honest ... If you have faith, no matter what the obstacles are, things will always work out. Maybe not the way you them to, but nobody is smart enough to see into the future the way God can."

He also passed these qualities down to his children, Werner Jr., Marlene and Janet.

"Work hard and play hard," his son answered when asked the lessons he learned from his father. "And respect - he always gave people respect."

Werner Jr. said Fricker Corp. will continue to build residential and commercial properties.

"For the last seven months, with my father out, I've basically been running things with the help of our employees. We have some really good people. We've gone through some tough times, but I love to build, just like my father, and we will continue to build."

The family will be receiving caller from 10 a.m to 1 p.m. Monday at St. Catherine of Siena Church, 321 Witmer Road, Horsham, Pa., followed by a Mass and burial.