Tony DiCicco, who led the U.S. Women's National Team to the Olympic Gold Medal in 1996 and a famous World Cup title in 1999, passed away Monday night at the age of 68.
DiCicco orchestrated the rise of the USWNT from 1994-1999. He had a record of 103-8-8.
A goalkeeping coach by trade, DiCicco was generous with his time and knowledge.
"I learned a lot from him," said longtime Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer and Region I ODP goalkeeping coach Terry Underkoffler. "Anytime he spoke, I was going to get something from him. He was good about sharing information and coaching education. A lot of people want to keep their secrets or their training sessions. He was quite the opposite. He was very giving in that way."
DiCicco, even when he was on the national team staff, would lend a hand to ODP camp. DiCicco fulfilled something of a guest role, though it was far from ceremonious.
"He would do some sessions with kids and talk with coaches," recalled Underkoffler, who first crossed paths with DiCicco in the 1980's.
Many of those players went on to become coaches themselves.
"He has touched so many lives," said Underkoffler, "countless and countless kids, countless coaches, including goalkeepers that wanted to become a teacher like him."
DiCicco remained close to the national scene--he was commissioner of the WUSA, the first women's professional league in the U.S.--and returned to the bench with the Under-20 U.S. Women's National Team. That group won the U20 FIFA World Cup in 2008, the United States' first championship in the event since 2002. He also coached the Boston Breakers of the WPS from 2009-2011, all while maintaining his SoccerPlus camps and club in his native Connecticut.
DiCicco became a fixture of soccer telecasts in recent years, providing commentary for the Olympics and Women's World Cup on NBC, ESPN and Fox.
He is survived by his wife, Diane, and four sons, Anthony, Andrew, Alex and Nicholas.
"The one thing that comes to mind is that if they ever made a Mt. Rushmore of American goalkeeper coaches, he'd be on it," said Underkoffler. "He's left a pretty indelible mark."