CHICAGO (Jan. 29, 2016) – Former U.S. Women’s National Team head coach and current University of North Carolina head women’s soccer coach Anson Dorrance has been named the 2016 winner of the prestigious Werner Fricker Builder Award.
As U.S. Soccer’s highest honor, the Werner Fricker Builder Award is given to an individual or group of individuals who have dedicated at least 20 years of service to the sport, working to establish a lasting legacy in the history and structure of soccer in the United States. The award recognizes those who have developed programs that will outlast their own involvement in the sport.
“It’s a great pleasure to present the Werner Fricker Builder Award to the person who coached the U.S. Women’s National Team to its first FIFA Women’s World Cup title,” said U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati. “Anson has worked tirelessly over the years to build a program at North Carolina that led the way for other universities to invest in women’s soccer, and from which soccer in the U.S. has benefited tremendously for the past three and a half decades. His work with the National Team and with National Team players at the collegiate level has helped to grow the game at home and abroad, and his legacy in soccer will certainly be felt for many years to come.”
A member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame, Dorrance led the USA to its first Women’s World Cup title in 1991 in FIFA’s inaugural world championship for women’s soccer. The USA set the standard for future U.S. teams, defeating Norway, 2-1, in the title game played in Guangzhou, China. Dorrance took over as head coach for the U.S. Women in 1986 and headed the team for nearly eight years, stepping aside for Tony DiCicco to take the reins in 1995. Dorrance finished his National Team career in 1994 with a 65-22-5 record in 92 matches.
"It’s an extraordinary honor to be given the award named for the very man who made my U.S. Women’s National Team dream come true,” said Dorrance. “Also, I see the names of the previous winners as a list of mentors; people who gave me my first chances; wise individuals who guided me, inspired me, educated me and yes, on occasion defeated me on the field of play. These men are the backbone of a burgeoning world soccer power on both sides of the gender divide. Thank you for inviting me and my family to be a part of this celebration.”
A three time All-Atlantic Coast Conference choice as a player, Dorrance played for the UNC, beginning as a walk on his freshman year. In 1976, Dorrance took over as head coach for the men’s soccer program, succeeding his former coach, Marvin Allen. During his time as the men’s soccer coach, he accumulated a 175-65-21 record, leading the team to the ACC championship and the NCAA Final Four in 1987. He won the NCAA Men’s Soccer Coach of the Year that same year.
In 1979, Dorrance took on double duty as the head coach for the men’s and the newly instituted women’s soccer team. He led the Tar Heels to the 1981 Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women title before the NCAA held a women’s soccer championship and would move solely to coaching the women’s program in 1988.
Dorrance’s work eventually helped spur the NCAA to recognize women’s soccer as an intercollegiate sport and what followed was one of the most amazing dynasties in sports history. His teams have won 21 NCAA titles out of 34 that have been contested and Dorrance is an eight-time National Coach of the Year and a nine-time ACC Coach of the Year. He is the winningest coach in college soccer history and has compiled a record of 792-63-32 in the women’s game while 19 different Tar Heels have been named National Player of the Year.
During his time with the National Team and in Chapel Hill, Dorrance has coached some greatest players in women’s soccer history. Many players credit Dorrance for having a major impact on their development as people off the field and as players on the field.
The award is named for Werner Fricker who served as U.S. Soccer President from 1984 to 1990 and was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 1992.
Fricker is widely credited for playing a major role in bringing the 1994 FIFA World Cup to the United States. Born in Yugoslavia and raised in Austria, Fricker 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.
The President of U.S. Soccer appoints a task force to review the nominations and select a winner.
WERNER FRICKER AWARD
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
2014 Richard Groff
2015 Bruce Arena
2016 Anson Dorrance