Tony DiCicco, the only coach to lead the U.S. WNT to both an Olympic Gold Medal and a World Cup title has died at 68 sparking an outpouring of affection from former players as well as an array of people across all areas of the U.S. soccer landscape.
DiCicco was there at the beginning as the U.S. WNT became the standard bearer for the women’s game. The Wethersfield, Connecticut native served as goalkeeper coach under Anson Dorrance when the Americans claimed the first ever Women’s World Cup in 1991 when it was known as the Women’s World Championship. Five years later DiCicco was at the helm when the Americans won the inaugural Women’s Soccer Gold Medal at the Atlanta Games.
DiCicco, who had taken over from Dorrance in 1994, led the Americans to a third place finish at the 95 Women’s World Cup before cementing his legacy and the place of U.S. at the top of the women’s game by winning Olympic Gold in Atlanta and the 1999 World Cup in front of 90,125 fans at the Rose Bowl.
After that triumph, DiCicco stepped down to spend more time with his family, although the coach stayed involved with the game, most recently as a prominent broadcaster.
DiCicco’s team, known as the 99ers, brought a new level of respect to the women’s game but a couple of quotes from those who knew him well suggest that there was a lot more to DiCicco than X’s and O’s.
Sunil Gulati. U.S. Soccer President:“Today we mourn the loss of one of the most influential coaches in U.S. Soccer history.” 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. 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.”
U.S. Soccer Secretary General/CEO Dan Flynn. “Tony is one of the true legends of women’s soccer in the United States and the game would not be where it is today without his dedication and visionary work. We’ve lost a great man, but we all know that the impact he had at the beginning of our Women’s National Team program will be felt for generations to come.”
A member of the U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame and the winningest coach in U.S. Soccer history with a Globetrotter-like mark of 108-8-8, DiCicco is survived by his wife Diane and four sons. No cause of death was released, although a statement, released by the DiCicco family, indicates he had been struggling with ill health.
“While the health challenges Tony faced were confronted head on and with eyes open, we never could have foreseen the beautiful journey that truly defined the magnificence of this man’s life.”