The Walt Chyzowych Memorial Fund (WCMF), in conjunction with the NSCAA Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, has announced that University of Redlands Head Men's Soccer Coach Ralph Perez is the recipient of the 2012 Walt Chyzowych Memorial Fund Lifetime Achievement Award.
“When I received the phone call about earning this prestigious award, my first reaction was an overwhelming sense of humility,” Perez said. “I am simply honored to receive this award for the simple fact of the name [Walt Chyzowych] that is attached to it. Walt Chyzowych was a mentor of mine as well as to the game of soccer in America.”
A familiar face to the American soccer scene, Perez has accumulated more than 38 years of experience dating back to his first coaching gig at Whittier College in 1974. Perez has also enjoyed several collegiate coaching stints that include Old Dominion University, Santa Clara University, Cal State Fullerton, and the University of Redlands. Furthermore, he founded and jump-started the Cal State San Bernardino women’s program and the Cal State Los Angles men’s team, which made an NCAA Championship appearance in its fourth season.
Highlighting his collegiate success, Perez has led each institution to at least one conference title en route to the respective coach of the year honor for that accomplishment.
While at ODU, Perez guided the Monarchs to their first Colonial Athletic Association Championship in 1991. In addition, he garnered South Atlantic Region Coach of the Year plaudits following that inaugural accomplishment for ODU.
During his time with the Broncos of Santa Clara, Perez was named the Far West Region Coach of the Year in 1983.
Most recently, he guided the University of Redlands Bulldogs to a Sweet-16 appearance of the 2011 NCAA Division III Championships and was named the All-Far West Coach of the Year by the NSCAA. In just six seasons at the helm, he has amassed 99 wins while producing a 70-7-7 Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference record with the Maroon and Gray.
Throughout his coaching tenure, Perez has had numerous student-athletes go on to play at the professional and international levels. Perez has also established himself on these elite levels of soccer by serving on the staff of the US National Men’s Team and within Major League Soccer (MLS).
Beginning in 1978, Perez worked as the US National Staff Coach and eventually helped the US Team qualify for the World Cup for the first time in 40 years during the 1990 season. He also led the 1989 World Cup Under-20 Team to a fourth-place finish, boasting the best results for that squad in program history.
From 1996 through 2003, he worked as an assistant coach for the Los Angeles Galaxy and New York-New Jersey Metrostars, before serving as the Director of Coaching and Youth Development from 2003-2005.
With the LA Galaxy, he contributed to the team’s overwhelming success, highlighted by the 2002 MLS Cup Championship, the 2001 US Open Cup Championship and the 2000 CONCACAF Championship, in addition to numerous final appearances.
While a member of the New York-New Jersey Metrostars, he coached alongside many of the greatest coaches in soccer history, including Carlos Queiroz (Manchester United, Real Madrid, Portugal National Team) and Carlos Alberto Parreira (Brazil, Saudi Arabia and South Africa World Cup teams).
In addition to a coaching certificate from FIFA, Perez holds US Soccer National “A” and US National Instructor Coaching licenses. He currently serves on the regional and national committees as a chairperson of the NSCAA. Perez could possibly be the only coach in America to coach at all three NCAA Divisions, on top of the US, Olympic and World Cup teams.
“What Chyzowych did for the game of soccer in America, no one can come close to matching his contributions, and that is what makes me so happy. To be honored along with the finest coaches in American soccer history, especially Bob Gansler and Lothar Osiander,” Perez added. “It was always a dream of mine to give back to the game of soccer. Back in 1974, it was never in my wildest dreams that I would be recognized on this level of stature. I would like to thank the committee, all of my coaches and players, and most importantly, my entire family for their love and support.”
-- Press Release, December 2011