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Friday, January 13, 2012
COLLEGE: Lifetime honor for Perez

By Scott French

Ralph Perez, the former U.S. Soccer staff coach and Galaxy assistant who has kept the University of Redlands' men's program Southern California's reigning Division III powerhouse, will be honored at the National Soccer Coaches Association of America's convention in Kansas City, Mo.

Perez, a Southern California coaching legend who serves as analyst on television broadcasts of Galaxy matches, on Saturday will receive the Walt Chyzowych Award for Distinguished Lifetime Achievement.

“When I received the phone call about earning this prestigious award, my first reaction was an overwhelming sense of humility,” Perez, who began his coaching career at Whittier College in 1974, said in an NSCAA release announcing the award. “I am simply honored to receive this award for the simple fact of the name that is attached to it. Walt Chyzowych was a mentor of mine as well as to the game of soccer in America. 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. ...

“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.”

Perez started the men's program at Cal State L.A., the women's program at Cal State San Bernardino and guided the programs at Cal State Fullerton and Santa Clara. He is 99-24-10 in six seasons at Redlands, with three 20-win seasons, four NCAA tournament appearances and five Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference titles.

He was an assistant coach under Sigi Schmid with the Galaxy and was on the staff with the MetroStars, who later became the New York Red Bulls.

The Ukrainian-born Chyzowych (1937-94) was an All-American forward at Temple who played for and coached clubs in North America and served as U.S. Soccer's director of coaching from 1975 to 1981. He was the national team coach through most of his tenure, guiding the Yanks through failed qualifying campaigns for the 1978 and 1982 World Cups.