CHICAGO (March 26, 2014) – Jozsef Michna, a longtime FIFA assistant referee and State Referee Administrator in Florida, has received the prestigious Eddie Pearson Award for his years of service with the U.S. Soccer Referee Program.
The award is presented to individuals from the referee community who have made distinguished contributions to the referee program and have been involved for at least 20 years. The award was created to honor Eddie Pearson, who worked with the Georgia State Soccer Association and dedicated his efforts and abilities to the development of soccer as a coach, referee, instructor and administrator until his untimely passing in September of 1978.
Michna becomes the 28th recipient of this honor, which was presented to him on March 22 in Chicago for the first time since Toros Kibritjian was awarded in 2011. Michna has been involved with the U.S. Soccer Referee Program for 36 years.
“It was a great opportunity to be recognized by my peers, and obviously for the long service that I have provided for U.S. Soccer,” Michna said. “It’s an honor to be even mentioned, especially with such a limited amount of people who received this award throughout the years. It’s a privilege that Angelo Bratsis nominated me and it was just a wonderful surprise.”
Michna became a referee starting in 1976 at the amateur level, and over the years he progressed to the professional and international ranks.
“I kept trying to get as many opportunities, and fortunately I had the chance to work professionally in the North American Soccer League, became a national referee, worked tournaments and national finals, and international games. Living in South Florida, there was constantly international soccer down here.”
For the past 20 years, Michna has been a U.S. Soccer National Assessor, focusing on everything from the youth level to international matches. Some of his international assessment has included the CONCACAF Champions League, the 2012 Olympics and pre-qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Since 2006, Michna has served as a U.S. Soccer National Referee Instructor, conducting numerous clinics at Region III youth tournaments. He is also an instructor for annual recertification for national referees.
In 2012, Michna was appointed by U.S. Soccer to administrate all running tests across the country at Referee Training Seminars for all FIFA and national referees. Michna currently is a referee coach in the Professional Referee Organization.
“Right now I’m an assistant referee coach, watching the ARs and fourth officials and evaluating their work,” Michna said. “It’s been very positive working with the PRO and how they are managing things.”
As is commonplace among the referee community, Michna is taking his extensive knowledge and experience and bestowing that upon future generations of referees.
“There is always somebody looking out for you, but it’s not a world of entitlement,” Michna said. “You give them tough love, encourage them, show them the way and make sure they produce. You help improve their skills both on and off the field, and through all of that you will receive the reward in the end.”
Eddie Pearson Award Recipients:
1979: Pat Smith
1980: Don Byron
1981: Ray Morgan
1982: Roger Schott
1983: Paul Avis
1987: John Best
1988: Harry Baldwin
1989: Robert Sumpter
1990: Don Philipson
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
2002: Robert Wertz
2003: Alfred Kleinaitis
2004: Jim Allen
2006: Herb Silva
2008: Dave McKee
2010: Rodney Kenny
2011: Toros Kibritjian
2013: Jozsef Michna
Each State Association, State Referee Committee or State Referee Administrator may recommend a candidate for the Eddie Pearson Award. Recommendations are submitted to the U.S. Soccer Referee Department, where the criteria for each candidate is reviewed by a selection panel comprised of previous Eddie Pearson Award winners. The final selections are confirmed by the U.S. Soccer Referee Committee based on the recommendations of the selection panel.