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2002 Eddie Pearson Award

As part of our continuing effort to service and educate our membership, each Thursday U.S. Soccer will provide an informative article from one of its departments. Once a week, we will bring you an article/paper/essay that will hopefully enhance your enjoyment and knowledge of the game of soccer - on and off the field.

This week’s article focuses on Robert Wertz, Jr., the winner of the 2002 Eddie Pearson Award, one of the most prestigious awards that can be bestowed on a U.S. Soccer referee.

2002 Eddie Pearson Award

In recognition of all that he has done for soccer refereeing in the United States, Robert Wertz, Jr. was named the 2002 winner of the prestigious Eddie Pearson Award at the recently completed National Referee Certification Seminar in Chandler, Arizona.

The Eddie Pearson Award is presented each year to a referee who has distinguished himself through outstanding contributions to soccer refereeing in the United States.  The award was created to honor Eddie Pearson, who worked with the Georgia State Soccer Association and dedicated much of his efforts and abilities to the development of soccer - as a coach, referee, instructor and administrator - until his untimely death in September 1978. The award was first presented in 1979.

Wertz Jr. currently serves as the Chairman of the Louisiana State Referee Committee and the Region III Representative on the USYS Referee Committee.  As the Region III representative, Wertz Jr. oversees the referee portion of the Youth Regional Tournament.

“Bob Wertz was at the head of the program at a time when we experienced unprecedented growth,” said Alfred Kleinaitis, U.S. Soccer’s Manager of Referee Education.  “His dedication and his hard work allowed the refereeing in this country to move forward, and I’ve always valued the times we’ve worked together.”

Wertz Jr.’s referee administration career dates back to 1982, when he started as an Assistant Referee Administrator in Baton Rouge, La.  Since then, he has climbed the ladder to the top of referee administration in this country, serving two terms as the National Director of Referee Administration (1988-91 and 1996-97) and working as the chairman of the National Referee Committee for five years (1991-96) between his stints as the National Director of Referee Administration.

Wertz Jr. left his mark on referees with his many redesigns and innovations.  In 1990 he developed the fourth official game log, which was later tested by Brian Hall.  He established the Overseas Referee Branch and developed the Referee Administrative Handbook for all referees.

After moving on to chair the National Referee Committee in 1991, he continued to press the referee program forward.  He arranged to have the first Referee Summit in 1994 in Orlando, Fla., to develop a Referee Program vision, mission and five-year goal plan.  He also established and started the USSF Referee Assignor Program, a major task that included developing the program guidelines and setting and securing approval for the program policies.

Wertz’s accomplishments over his 15-year career are astounding, and truly helped to shape the referee program that stands today – making him a very deserving winner of the Eddie Pearson Award.

The National Camp in Chandler, Arizona, ran from Thursday, January 23, to Sunday, January 26, 2003.  For the first time in the history of the event a representative from every MLS team (nine coaches, one general manager) attended the seminar.

Past winners of the Eddie Pearson Award

  • 1979 - Pat Smith
  • 1980 - Roger Schott
  • 1981 - Ray Morgan
  • 1982 - Don Byron
  • 1983 - Paul Avis
  • 1987 - John O. Best
  • 1988 - Harry Baldwin
  • 1989 - Robert Sumpter
  • 1990 - Don Phillipson
  • 1991 - Keith Walker
  • 1992 - Robert Evans
  • 1993 - Angelo Bratsis
  • 1994 - Heinz Wolmerath
  • 1995 - Thomas Webb
  • 1996 - Jack McCabe
  • 1997 - Richard Giebner
  • 1998 - Michael Wuertz
  • 1999 - Fernando Alvarez
  • 2000 - Peter Johnson
  • 2001 - Ed Bellion

For more information, please contact Carol McGuire, U.S. Soccer's Referee Programs Manager.  Carol can be reached at, or (312) 528-1241.