BIOGRAPHY OF WERNER FRICKER (1936 – 2001)
Born in Karlsdorf, Banat, Yugoslavia (today Serbia) in 1936, Werner Fricker spent his teenage years playing soccer in Austria and immigrated to the United States in 1952 settling near Philadelphia.
It was in 1954 that he would first step on a soccer field with the United German Hungarians. His association with this club would go on for the rest of his life. As a star, midfielder Fricker captained their Major Team from 1959 to 1969 taking them to six consecutive USLPA titles as well as the 1965 US Amateur Cup Championship. He would later serve as president of the club from 1968-1976.
In 1963, Werner was selected for the United States Olympic team. Fricker also was named to the USLPA All-Star team from 1958-1968 and captained the team for six of those years. In 1959, he took part in the founding of the United Soccer League; Eastern Pennsylvania’s Elite US Amateur League and served as its Secretary from 1967-1970 and its President from 1970-1972. A leader in East Penn, Fricker coordinated efforts of other greats such as Walt Chyzowych, Roger Schott, and later Richard Groff. All of whom would later be part of his team in efforts to build coaching, referee, and soccer business programs across the nation
In 1972, Fricker was elected president of the Eastern Pennsylvania Soccer Association and served until 1974 when he was elected Vice President of the United States Soccer Federation. He held that role until 1984 when he was elected as the USSF President. From 1984 to 1990, he played a great role in improving the U.S. Soccer Federation’s financial situation, but is best known for the successful World Cup bid. It also was on Fricker’s watch, in 1989, that the United States qualified for the World Cup for the first time in 40 years. He presided over the launch of the women’s national team in 1985 and the formation of the boys U-17 program. In 1981, as vice-president, he had master-minded the start of the U-20 program.
In 2000 the USASA designated the National Men’s Open Cup as the Werner Fricker National Open Cup.
In 2002, the USSF created the Werner Fricker Builder’s Award in memory of his contributions. Fricker over the years also was a member of the CONCACAF Executive Committee and has been inducted into the CONCACAF Hall of Fame, the US Soccer Hall of Fame, the USASA Hall of Fame, the SEPA Hall of Fame and is an NSCAA Honorary All American.
In 2008, a bronze bust of Fricker was unveiled at northeast corner of Mooch Myernick Field at The StubHub Center. The memorial is inscribed in “In appreciation of his guidance, perseverance and dedication in establishing the sport of soccer in the United States.”
(Adapted from Werner Fricker’s Biography in the Eastern Pennsylvania “Centennial Celebration” souvenir book in 2015)