Former U.S. Women's National Team head coach and CCSU women's soccer assistant Tony DiCicco has passed away. DiCicco also earned a master's degree in physical education from Central Connecticut in 1978 and was also an assistant coach for the Blue Devils men's soccer team. He was 68 years old.
"The CCSU family was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Coach DiCicco," said CCSU Director of Athletics Paul Schlickmann. "We take great pride in, and are grateful for, his association with the University as a Graduate student alumnus, a previous member of both our men's and women's soccer staffs and as a close friend to several of our athletics staff members. His positive impact on the game of soccer and on the lives of those he coached is priceless. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and all those who are touched by his loss."
"We are all devastated with the news of Tony's passing," said CCSU women's soccer head coach Mick D'Arcy. "Last season we were so fortunate when Tony joined our coaching staff. His vast wealth of coaching knowledge was a great asset to our coaches and players, but we were most moved by his human touch. His ability to connect with players, his passion for the game and his incredible humility will long live in our memories. On a personal note, I've lost a great friend. I will miss him terribly. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, his wonderful wife Diane and his four sons, Anthony, Drew, Alex and Nick. Thanks for sharing him with us."
DiCicco was most recently an assistant for one season with the Blue Devils. He helped the team to a share of the 2016 Northeast Conference regular-season title, the eighth in program history. DiCicco was also served as an assistant under Webster on the men's team in the late 1970's.
"Tony was an inspiration to us all," said former CCSU men's soccer head coach John Webster. "He was a unifier and added a great team spirit and brought everyone together. He added a great deal of fun, energy and insight and I am so thankful he could join us. We all profited from the time we spent with him."
DiCicco was one of the most recognizable figures in women's soccer and was elected to the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2012. He was instrumental in helping build the U.S. Women's National Team, culminating in winning the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup in front of over 90,000 fans at the Rose Bowl, the largest women's sporting event in history.
DiCicco first joined U.S. Soccer as a goalkeeper coach under then-head coach Anson Dorrance and helped the team win the 1991 Women's World Cup. After being appointed head coach in 1994 he would lead the U.S. Women's National Team until 1999, becoming the winningest coach in U.S. Soccer history. Under his guidance the USA won its first gold medal in the Olympics at the 1996 Atlanta games. He also helped the national team to a third-place finish at the 1995 World Cup in Sweden. Later he led the U.S. Under-20 Women's National Team to a championship at the 2008 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup.
DiCicco was also instrumental in helping to start women's professional soccer in the U.S., first with the Women's United Soccer Association as the Chief Operating Officer in 2001 and later as Commissioner in 2002-03. He also coached the Boston Breakers in Women's Professional Soccer from 2009-11.
His roots in soccer in Connecticut date back to foudning the SoccerPlus Goalkeeper School in 1982. He would also start the FSA SoccerPlus youth club in Farmington, CT; the SoccerPlus Connecticut Reds of the WPSL; and the SoccerPlus Education Center. He was a national staff coach for the NSCAA.
A native of Wethersfield, CT, DiCicco earned a bachelor's degree from Springfield College where he was an All-American goalkeeper. He would play professionally in the American Soccer League for the Connecticut Wildcats and Rhode Island Oceaneers. DiCicco also played for the U.S. National Team in 1973.
DiCicco is survived by his wife Diane and four sons: Anthony, Andrew, Alex, and Nicholas.