Tony DiCicco, the coach of the U.S. women’s soccer team during its groundbreaking run to the 1999 Women’s World Cup title, died Monday night at the age of 68, his son announced Tuesday on Twitter. The cause of death was not immediately apparent, but Anthony DiCicco spoke of his father’s “health challenges” in his statement.
A statement from the DiCicco Family. pic.twitter.com/kBLKhdrWdH
— Anthony DiCicco (@DiCiccoMethod) June 20, 2017
DiCicco was lauded by his players for tailoring his coaching style toward women, making sure his players with children were getting enough family time and being cognizant of the relationships that needed to be built between him and his players.
“There is so much more to them than just being players,” DiCicco said in a profile written by The Post’s Amy Shipley ahead of the 1999 World Cup final against China. “Guys love identifying themselves as just a player. Don’t ask me to explain that. Maybe [women] are just higher Homo sapiens.”
Said goalkeeper Brianna Scurry: “Tony’s really in tune with how we feel. You have to deal with a more emotional side for women. You can’t be a tyrant, for example, and Tony is far from that. Women don’t respond well to that. We take things personally.
“He’s found a good way to convey what he wants us to do, but not to the point of being harsh, which would make people shut down. He’s bridged the gap very well.”
Thank you for helping a generation of American girls believe one day they could lift that trophy too. Rest in peace Tony DiCicco. pic.twitter.com/yyVIwUGC4x
— KICK (@KICK) June 20, 2017
Indeed, when DiCicco announced his sudden resignation as the USWNT’s coach nearly four months after the 1999 World Cup title, he said it was because he couldn’t subject his family — wife Diane and four sons — to another year of disruption ahead of the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
“It’s just too much travel,” said DiCicco, who finished with a 103-8-8 record as USWNT coach. “I can’t balance it. . . . I wanted to be a world-class father more than a world-class coach.”
His former players reacted Tuesday to his death.
@DiCiccoMethod Great coach, amazing man! We were so fortunate to have him be our teacher/leader. His lessons and love will never leave us.
— Mia Hamm (@MiaHamm) 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
I'm so sorry for your loss. What a great man, a true pioneer of our game. He's so appreciated.
— Becky Sauerbrunn (@beckysauerbrunn) June 20, 2017