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Hank Stienbrecher

Hank Steinbrecher Named Winner of the Prestigious Werner Fricker Award in 2012

CHICAGO (Jan. 11, 2012) – Former Secretary General of U.S. Soccer and National Soccer Hall of Fame inductee Hank Steinbrecher was named as the 2012 recipient of the prestigious Werner Fricker Builder Award.

The honor is bestowed to an individual who has worked tirelessly in furthering the interest of the sport of soccer without regard to personal recognition or advancement. The Werner Fricker Award is designed to honor those who have created or fostered programs that will outlast their own active involvement in the sport and who have established a lasting legacy in the history and structure of soccer in the United States.

“Hank has been one of the most important people in developing and guiding the sport in this country,” said U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati. “Under his leadership, U.S. Soccer accomplished numerous achievements and earned respect across the world for the Federation’s success on and off the field. One of the most dedicated people in the sport over the past 30 years, Hank is truly deserving of the Werner Fricker Builder Award.”

As the CEO/Secretary General of U.S. Soccer from 1990-2000, Steinbrecher was instrumental in bringing soccer to prominence in the United States. In his more than nine years with the Federation, Steinbrecher oversaw the staging of two of the most successful Men’s and Women’s World Cups, held in the United States in 1994 and 1999, respectively.

By the end of Steinbrecher’s tenure, both the Men’s and Women’s National Teams reached new levels of success and developed an undeniable national presence. The U.S. Men had competed in three World Cups, won the inaugural CONCACAF Gold Cup in 1991 and finished third in two FIFA Confederations Cups. The U.S. Women earned two World Cup titles in 1991 and 1999 and an Olympic gold medal in 1996. Steinbrecher also ensured the future growth of soccer in the U.S. by creating programs concentrated on developing world class players and increasing both the coaching and referee programs.

A lifelong fan of the game, the New York native grew up playing soccer and won an NAIA national championship at Davis & Elkins College in 1970. Steinbrecher later became the soccer head coach at Warren Wilson College, Appalachian State and Boston University.

He was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in the Class of 2005 as a Builder and joined former U.S. stars Marcelo Balboa, John Harkes and Tab Ramos, who were inducted as players that same year. Steinbrecher became the Chairman of the Hall of Fame’s Board of Directors in June of 2011.

“I am honored and humbled to be selected as the recipient of the Werner Fricker Award, especially because I knew President Fricker well and had the utmost respect for all he has done for our game,” said Steinbrecher. “To be considered as part of his legacy is particularly rewarding. I am also humbled, because I know that there are many more deserving individuals who have contributed to the simple game that far outweigh my contributions. I accept this high honor in the name of all the individuals who are committed to the improvement and enjoyment of our great sport.”

Werner Fricker is widely credited for his role in bringing the 1994 FIFA World Cup to the United States. Born in Yugoslavia and raised in Austria, he lived his adult life in Pennsylvania, where he was a star midfielder for the United German Hungarians of Philadelphia soccer club from 1954 to 1969 and was a member of the 1964 U.S. Olympic Team. He served as U.S. Soccer President from 1984 to 1990 and was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in Oneonta, N.Y., in 1992.

The President of U.S. Soccer appoints a selection committee to review the nominations and select a winner.

Year   Recipient
2002    Werner Fricker, Sr.
2003    Sunil Gulati
2005    Gerhard Mengel
2006    Sal Rapaglia
2007    Francisco Marcos
2008    Bob Gansler
2009    Alan Rothenberg
2010    Bob Contiguglia
2011    Kevin Payne
2012    Hank Steinbrecher