John Kowalski will be honored at the United Soccer Coaches convention in Philadelphia. (Photo courtesy of the Walt Chyzowych Memorial Fund)

Former U.S. five-a-side national coach John Kowalski will be presented with the Walt Chyzowych Lifetime Achievement Award at a special ceremony in Philadelphia Jan. 20.

The event will take place in the Liberty Ballrooms A&B at Philadelphia Downtown Marriott at 4 p.m. that Saturday during the United Soccer Coaches Convention.

Two Kowalski-coached teams — the 1989 and 1992 U.S. national five-a-side (futsal) teams that finished third and second, respectively, in FIFA international competition — also will be honored at the same event. The bronze- and silver-medal-winning players will be presented with Walt Chyzowych Distinguished Playing Career awards.

“It’s truly an honor for me to follow in the footsteps of so many great people who, having served the game at a high level, were recognized as Chyzowych Lifetime Achievement Award winners,” Kowalski said. “For me, not only have I had the good fortune of playing with and coaching against many of the award’s previous winners, I am delighted to now be named to this distinguished list. It truly is one of the highlights of my career.”

Kowalski, who lived in Queens, N.Y., emigrated to the U.S. with his family from Poland in 1965 at the age of 14. He was named to the all-city team while attending Francis Lewis High School and played for the German Hungarians in the German-American League at the Metropolitan Oval. He attended the University of New Haven, where he played four years under coach Joe Machnik, a relationship that would continue into his coaching career. He became Machnik’s assistant at New Haven and helped the Chargers to five NCAA tournament appearances, including the 1976 and 1977 finals. From 1973-1978 he was a player-coach for the New Britain Falcons of the Connecticut State League, winning the state championship or state cup every year.

In 1991, he was named interim coach of the U.S. national team and took the team on a trip to Asia, prior to Bora Milutinovic taking over. That included victories over Olimpia of Paraguay (1990 champions of South America and world club champions), Canada and a draw with Mexico. Kowalski assisted Milutinovic on the 1991 CONCACAF Gold Cup championship team.

Kowalski has directed the women’s soccer program at Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh the last 17 years. He was named Northeast Conference coach of the year in 2015, the same year he led the Colonials to the program’s first NEC tournament.

The Walt Chyzowych Fund honors the memory and legacy of the late Chyzowych, who guided the U.S. national team who also served as director of coaching in the developmental years of the modern era of U.S. Soccer.

1989 and 1992 U.S. Five-a-Side Player and Staff Honorees
Players Peter Vermes
Jeff Agoos Mike Windischmann
Chico Borja Terry Woodberry
Fernando Clavijo David Vanole  in memoriam
Ted Eck
Eric Eichmann Coaches
Dale Ervine John Kowalski   head coach
George Fernandez Frans Hoek   assistant
Jim Gabarra Joe Machnik   assistant
Brent Goulet Ron Newman   assistant
P.J. Johns
A.J. Lachowecki Staff
Doc Lawson Bill Heinz   team physician
Bruce Murray Jim Kittleberger   athletic trainer
Victor Nogueira Kees de Koening   physiotherapist
Tab Ramos Mike Konsek   equipment manager
Andy Schmetzer Patty Marchak   athletic trainer
Peter Smith John Polis   press officer
Steve Trittschuh Jeff Rohman   team administrator
Julie Veee


 Past winners: Walt Chyzowych Lifetime Achievement Award
1996 Jerry Yeagley 2007 Lothar Osiander
1997 Anson Dorrance 2008 Jay Vidovich
1998 Bill Killen 2009 Jay Miller
1999 Joe Morrone 2010 Walter Bahr
2000 Bob Gansler 2011 Sigi Schmid
2001 Dr. John McKeon 2012 Ralph Perez
2002 Mel Lorback 2013 Jim Lennox
2003 Bruce Arena 2014 Gene Chyzowych
2004 Tom Fleck 2015 George Vizvary
2005 Joe Machnik 2016 Timo Liekoski
2006 Nick Zlatar 2017 Jay Hoffman