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Tony DiCicco (1948 - 2017)

Getty Images / NY Daily News Archive / Rebecca Mcalpin

Tony DiCicco (1948 - 2017)

Tony DiCicco, the former U.S. women's national soccer team coach who guided them to their second World Cup championship in 1999, died Monday, June 19, 2017, according to his family. He was 68.

"While the health challenges Tony faced were confronted head on and with eyes open,” his family said, “we never could have foreseen the beautiful journey that truly defined the magnificence of this man's life."

DiCicco coached the team, which also won an Olympic gold medal in 1996, from 1994 to 1999.

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DiCicco was born Aug. 5, 1948, in Wethersfield, Connecticut, where he grew up. He graduated from Springfield College in Massachusetts in 1968. As a senior, he was an All-American goalkeeper.

He played professionally for five years with the Connecticut Wildcats and Rhode Island Oceaneers of the American Soccer League. He made one appearance for the U.S. men's national soccer team in 1973.

He started out with the women's team in 1991 as the goalkeeper coach. He became head coach of the women's team in 1994, compiling a record of 103 wins, eight losses, and eight draws. The team defeated China in a dramatic contest to capture the 1999 World Cup.

In his later years, he provided commentary for coverage of women's soccer for ESPN and Fox Sports.

DiCicco, who was elected to the class of 2012 of the National Soccer Hall of Fame, co-wrote the book "Catch Them Being Good: Everything You Need to Know To Successfully Coach Girls," along with Colleen Hacker and Charles Salzberg.

Women’s team member Becky Sauerbrunn took to social media to pay tribute to her former coach.

DiCicco “played an integral role in getting our program to where it is now,” Sauerbrunn tweeted. “I am very appreciative of him and his contribution. Sad day.” 

Carli Lloyd, another player on the team, tweeted, “So incredibly sad 2 hear about the passing of Tony. He was a pioneer of the game n I'm thankful for all he has done on and off the pitch.”

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