Gerhard Mengel: A Biography


Gerhard Mengel was born in Marburg, Germany where he played soccer through his youth until 1952 when he moved to Switzerland to play for the F.C. Kreutzlingen. In 1954, he moved up to F.C. Luzern and remained with the team until 1958 when he immigrated to the United States. After immigrating to Flint, Michigan, he joined the Carpathia Kickers. As a player, Gerhard represented Michigan in many All-Star games. In 1962, as a player, coach and manager of the Carpathia Kickers, Gerhard helped bring home Michigan’s first United States Soccer Federation (USSF) US Amateur Cup.

He pioneered soccer in the Flint area by co-founding its first amateur league the central Michigan Soccer League, youth summer league, local referee association, and served in various capacities in these organizations.

A respected referee, Gerhard could be relied upon to bring a difficult match to an uneventful conclusion. He frequently traveled hundreds of miles as a referee instructor to teach “The Laws,” to the State’s outlying districts, often being the first voice of authority to reach those areas. He effectively developed and trained referees.

In 1978, Gerhard was elected State Registrar and established a network of deputies across the state which efficiently managed the process of registering players. His success in drawing unaffiliated teams and leagues into the Michigan Soccer Association (MSA) has, without question, a most important contributor to the growth of organization.

After 18 years of service as State Registrar, Gerhard was elected President of the MSA in 1997, a position he held for 14 years.

For fourteen years, Gerhard managed the cups competitions administered by MSA including the National Cups, the Tournament of Champions, and the State Challenge Cup. He also served the United States Adult Soccer Association (USASA) for fifteen years as Regional Cup Commissioner from 1982 until 1997, at which time he was appointed National Chairman of the National Cups Committee.

From 1988 through 1989 Gerhard served on the USSF’s Competitions Committee. He was appointed again in 1997 and sat on that committee until it was disbanded by USSF. In 1998, he was named to the USSF Open Cup Competitions Committee. In 2002, he was appointed to the USSF’s Lamar Hunt Men’s Open Cup Committee.

His work and commitment to any position or task he was asked to undertake is recognized by the governing bodies of soccer in the United States. Whether at the state, regional or national level, he is respected and esteemed for his contributions.

In 2004, the MSA recognized his dedication and service as a player. League administrator, coach, referee, and state administrator by naming the Michigan Challenge Cup in his honor as the Gerhard Mengel State Cup. The same year, the USASA designated the National Men’s Over 30 Cup as the Gerhard Mengel National Cup.

The USSF awarded Gerhard its Werner Fricker Builder’s Award at the 2005 AGM. This award honored his efforts in growing the game at the state, regional, and national levels. This award is one of the most prestigious awards in soccer.

At the 2006 AGM, the USASA inducted Gerhard Mengel into its Hall of Fame acknowledging his work for the adult soccer player.

His greatest honor was the awarding of Life Membership by the USSF at its 2010 AGM.

(Originally printed in the Carpathia Kickers “60 Years of Soccer Tradition” souvenir book in 2012)

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