A Tribute To Former U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Tony DiCicco
Tony DiCicco contributed everything he had to the growth of the women’s game in the United States. Known for leading the U.S. Women’s National Team to its second FIFA Women’s World Cup title in 1999, DiCicco also provided the groundwork for youth development over the years. We honor U.S. soccer legend DiCicco for all his passion and his tireless effort to raise the game’s standards.
Soccer News: The soccer community mourns the loss of Tony DiCicco who is remembered as a one of the greatest foundational figures in American women’s soccer. A highly intelligent man who cared deeply for his immediate family as well as all his players — who were part of his extended family — DiCicco was decisive but listened well and always had time for a newcomer with smart questions.
DiCicco passed on Monday at the age of 68 as his family issued the following statement:
A statement from the DiCicco Family. pic.twitter.com/kBLKhdrWdH
— Anthony DiCicco (@DiCiccoMethod) June 20, 2017
While I was never coached by DiCicco, who served as head coach of the U.S. Women’s National Team from 1994-1999, I recognized the passion for develpoment in his voice when I spoke with him.
DiCicco was a man committed to helping those who wanted — to help themselves — seek greatness.
A world class coach who helped transform the US Women’s squad into a world power when he guided them to the gold medal at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, DiCicco also led the USWNT to the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup victory. Many serious soccer fans will remember that this title culminated in the iconic penalty shootout with China at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. What many people may not recall is how DiCicco inspired his players to reach for their dreams and congratulated them when they reached the stars.
The Wethersfield, Conn., native also coached the U20 U.S. Women’s National Team to the 2008 U20 FIFA Women’s World Cup. He also served as a goalkeeper coach for the USWNT team that won the first Women’s World Cup in 1991.
DiCicco remained GK Coach until 1994 when he succeeded Anson Dorrance as head coach of the USWNT. He posted a 105-8-8 record during his reign as the USWNT head coach – a .901 winning percentage.
DiCicco’s 105 international victories are the most for a USWNT head coach in the history of U.S. Soccer.
“Today we mourn the loss of one of the most influential coaches in U.S. Soccer history,” said U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati.
“Tony’s passion for the game as a coach, administrator and broadcaster was always evident and his relationships with everyone in the soccer community distinguished him as a compassionate and much-loved man,” said Gulati. “U.S. Soccer will forever be thankful to Tony for his vast contributions to the game and we extend thoughts and condolences to his family and to the many people who were positively impacted by him during what was a remarkable life.”
DiCicco, a beloved member of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) since 1981 and longtime Director of the NSCAA Goalkeeping Academy.
He is a past member of the NSCAA Board of Directors and acted in an advisory role for both U.S. Soccer and FIFA, received the NSCAA Honorary All-American award in 1999 and was honored with the NSCAA Women’s Committee Award of Excellence in 2008. He was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2012 and the NSCAA Hall of Fame in 2016.
“We’ve lost a true legend. Tony has contributed to every facet of the game in the United States,” said NSCAA President Charlie Slagle. “He will be sorely missed.”
DiCicco’s coaching philosophy and expertise is woven throughout the NSCAA Coaching Academy curriculum and was delivered to countless coaches annually through the NSCAA Convention, NSCAA courses across the country and other available NSCAA resources.
“Tony’s passing is an incredible loss to our game. We have lost a friend. He adored his wife and sons and our thoughts are with them. He’s touched so many people’s lives,” said NSCAA CEO Lynn Berling-Manuel. “As Director of the NSCAA Goalkeeper Academy, he taught hundreds of coaches who will always be in his debt. And he will be revered by players across the spectrum — from nine-year-olds who had their first soccer camp experience with him to national team stars who played in World Cups for him. There will not soon be another like him.”
In addition to his international accomplishments, DiCicco was also heavily involved in developing a women’s professional soccer in the U.S. – serving as the Chief Operating Officer for Women’s United Soccer Association (WUSA) in 2001 and Commissioner in 2002 and 2003. He returned to coaching with the Boston Breakers from 2009-2011 during their time in Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS).
In recognition of DiCicco’s contributions to the women’s game, the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) has announced that all clubs will hold a moment of silence prior to the start of this weekend’s matches. In addition, the NWSL will be providing all players and coaches with a memorial armband featuring DiCicco’s initials.
DiCicco also served as a color commentator on several NWSL broadcasts – including during the 2013 NWSL Playoffs.
Former players of DiCicco have displayed their condolences to the man who has given everything he has to the growth of the game in the United States.
“He was a tremendous friend, father and coach,” said former U.S. WNT member Brandi Chastain. “He gave everything and asked nothing except your best effort done with passion, integrity and love. He was a kind soul and a gentle walker of the earth. He laughed hard, with others and at himself, and was never apologetic about loving someone or something openly. Being a coach is a great gift and Tony embraced that moniker with gratitude and love.”
“First and foremost, Tony was a great guy,” said former U.S. WNT member Shannon MacMillan. “He absolutely loved every minute that he was out there coaching. He truly enjoyed the opportunities that he had. He was a coach that had a great knack for coaching women. Personally, he challenged me and pushed me on a daily basis. I’m forever grateful to him. He will be sorely missed, but never forgotten.”
— Brandi Chastain (@brandichastain) June 20, 2017
Tony was one of the finest to grace this planet. His spirit will indeed live in us all Anthony. I smile thru the tears. His impact, immense. https://t.co/HYIbvwbSrV
— Julie Foudy (@JulieFoudy) June 20, 2017
Thank you for everything, Tony. I am forever grateful that I had the honor of playing for you. Rest In Peace. pic.twitter.com/OCKTatkunj
— Sydney Leroux Dwyer (@sydneyleroux) June 20, 2017
So sad to hear the passing of Tony. I will forever be grateful of the advice and belief he had in me. My prayers are with his family. RIP. https://t.co/9Xw187svo4
— Allie Long (@ALLIE_LONG) June 21, 2017