Tony DiCicco, coach of Women's World Cup champs, dies at 68

Tony DiCicco, coach of Women's World Cup champs, dies at 68”

He led the side to its first-ever Olympic gold medal at the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta, and his tenure culminated with a win at the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup. With the championship game tied at 0-0 after extra time, the USA beat China 5-4 on penalties at the Rose Bowl in California.

Women's team member Becky Sauerbrunn took to social media to pay tribute to her former coach. The WUSA folded, but the National Women's Soccer League has taken its place. DiCicco was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2012 in the Builder's category.

Tony DiCicco, who guided the United States women's national team to its famous World Cup win in 1999, died Monday night, his family announced via Twitter.

DiCicco began his U.S. Soccer career in 1991 as the USWNT's goalkeeper coach before taking over the head coaching role in 1994.

DiCicco was also the founding commissioner of the Women's United Soccer Association from 2000-2003 - a league made possible by the success of the 1999 Women's World Cup. "U.S. Soccer will forever be thankful to Tony for his vast contributions to the game".

FILE - In this July 10, 1999, file photo, United States women's soccer team head coach Tony DiCicco celebrates by holding the trophy aloft after defeating China in the Women's World Cup Final at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.

A CT native, DiCicco first became the goalkeeper coach of the USWNT in 1991, making his way up to the senior squad as coach.

DiCicco received a bachelor's degree in physical education from Springfield College in MA in 1970, where as a goalkeeper he was the captain and the most valuable player his senior year, earning All-America honors. DiCicco also has a master's degree in physical education from Central Connecticut State University, earned in 1978.

DiCicco played five years as a pro in the American Soccer League with the Connecticut Wildcats and Rhode Island Oceaneers.

Carli Lloyd, another player on the team, tweeted, "So incredibly sad 2 hear about the passing of Tony".

The Wethersfield, Conn., native is survived by Diane and four sons: Anthony, Andrew, Alex, and Nicholas.

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