Prudencio “Pete” Garcia

The first American to serve as an official at the World Cup.

Garcia became a certified FIFA referee in 1949, and one of the events to which he was assigned in that first year was the North American Championships in Mexico, which was a World Cup qualifying tourney. He was on FIFA’s panel of referees at the 1950 World Cup in Brazil, and while he did not referee any of the 22 games, he was a linesman for four of them, including the third-place game between Sweden and Spain.

Prior to becoming a FIFA referee, he had long been one of the leading figures in the sport in St. Louis’ large Spanish community, organizing teams, leagues and referees’ associations in Missouri and southern Illinois for decades after his emigration from Spain as a child. He refereed in the Municipal League of St. Louis from 1937 to 1957, and was a founder of Missouri Referees Association.

Inducted in 1964.

 

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