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Gerhard Mengel Receives 2005 Werner Fricker Builder Award

Michigan Soccer Association President Honored for Dedication to Soccer; Other Individuals and Organizations Presented with President's Awards

ORLANDO, Fla. (March 12, 2005)—Michigan Soccer Association President, Gerhard Mengel, was presented today with the 2005 Werner Fricker Builder Award at the United States Soccer Federation’s 2005 Annual General Meeting in Orlando, Fla. Mengel was honored for his contribution and commitment to the development and continued growth of soccer in the United States by U.S. Soccer President Dr. Robert Contiguglia.

The Werner Fricker Builder Award is presented annually to an individual or individuals who have worked tirelessly in furthering the interest of the sport of soccer, without regard to personal recognition or advancement.

Mengel has been an active part of the soccer community in the United States since 1958, when he was a player, coach and manager of the Carpathia Kickers of Detroit, a team that won four consecutive League Championships from 1958 to 1962 and won the National Amateur Cup in 1962. In 1975, he was inducted to the Michigan Amateur Sports Hall of Fame.

Born in Germany, Mengel’s devotion to the growth of soccer in the U.S. is reflected in his work in his adopted home state of Michigan, where he has founded or co-founded soccer clubs, leagues and referee associations and where he has been state president since 1997. In 1964, Mengel founded the Flint Yankee Soccer Club, in 1973 he co-founded the Central Michigan Soccer League and in 1976 he founded the Central Michigan Soccer Referees Association, in which he is still active. Most recently, the National Men’s Over-30 Competition was renamed the Gerhard Mengel Over-30 National Cup.

“I’m honored,” Mengel said about receiving the award. “Werner Fricker is the man who brought the World Cup to the United States, so it’s really an honor to be a recipient of that award.”

Currently a Referee Emeritus, referee instructor and referee assessor, Mengel was an active State Referee from 1972 until 1993 and has been a referee instructor since 1976. He also served as the National Cup Commissioner for the United States Adult Soccer Association Region II between 1982 and 1997, when he was made chairman of the National Cups Committee, a position that he still holds.

At age 76, Mengel’s work is far from done, as he continues to work for the development and continued growth of soccer across the entire United States.

“I made a statement 20 years ago to the news media and on television Flint, Michigan, that soccer will be, within the next 10 years, the greatest recognized sport in America,” Mengel said. “Well, I was 10 years off.”

President's Award Recipients

Also at the Anniversary Dinner, President S. Robert Contiguglia presented the annual President’s Awards.  Paul Caligiuri; President of Illinois Adult Soccer and Chairman of the USASA Diversity Committee, George Chazaro; the Deleware Diversity Project, the Frisco Sports and Entertainment Complex and referee Kari Seitz were honored tonight.

The President’s Awards are designed to recognize both individuals and institutions that have given selflessly of themselves for the betterment of our sport.

“This year’s recipients are a diverse group of administrators, referees and players, who have made a difference through their hard work and dedication, and we are very pleased to recognize them this evening in front of their peers,” said U.S. Soccer President S. Robert Contiguglia.

Paul Caligiuri is best known for his “Goal Heard Around the World” in Trinidad a little more than 15 years ago that sent the U.S. to their first World Cup finals in 40 years.  Through his career, Caligiuri earned 110 caps for the U.S. Men’s National team between 1984 and 1998, and was actually the first American-born player to play in the German Bundesliga. He is currently the head coach of both the Men’s and Women’s soccer programs at Cal Poly Pomona, and in 2004 was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in Oneonta, New York, in 2004.

As the President of Illinois Adult Soccer and Chairman of the USASA Diversity Committee, George Chazaro has made enormous strides in his efforts to help grow our sport at the grassroots level. Chazaro has been instrumental in reaching out to multicultural groups and organizations to show them the benefits of membership in the Adult Division, and has assisted them in that process.

Similar to the efforts of George Chazzaro in Illinois, the Delaware Diversity Project has reached out and identified non-affiliated organizations to grow their membership.  The Delaware Diversity Project has achieved growth through diversity outreach, increasing their membership by almost 200 percent by incorporating a non-affiliated Hispanic league by showing their leadership the benefits of membership 

The Frisco Sports and Entertainment Complex, which will open this summer, is the defining model of the synergies which exist between every facet of our membership, from Youth to Adult to Professional, and in that way defines U.S. Soccer’s long-term goals in both “player and facility development”. As the new home to FC Dallas in Major League Soccer and offices for U.S. Youth Soccer and the North Texas State Soccer Association, this stadium and 17-field complex will serve every aspect of our sport in the months and years ahead, and will likely host teams from all over the country and the world.

To honor the dynamic achievements at the Frisco Sports and Entertainment Complex, Dr. Contiguglia presented awards to David Messersmith (President, US Youth Soccer), Bob Black (Executive Director, North Texas State Soccer Association), and Don Garber (Commissioner, Major League Soccer) were presented with awards.

Kari Seitz was unable to attend the banquet, as she was working at the Algarve Cup in Portugal.  She has been a U. S. Soccer referee for 20 years, and a FIFA-certified referee since 1999.  In 2004, Seitz represented U.S. Soccer with distinction as an official at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, refereeing the Bronze Medal match between Germany and Sweden. Earlier this year, Kari was also selected as one of 38 women to participate in FIFA’s first referee workshop for women at the 2005 Algarve Cup.

Click here for a photo gallery of some of the 2005 award winners.