Tony DiCicco, a Wethersfield native who led the United States women's national soccer team to gold medals, has died.
DiCicco led the team to gold medals in the 1996 Olympics and the 1999 World Cup.
DiCicco became the U.S. coach in 1994 and led the team to the gold medal at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, the first games to feature women's soccer, the Associated Press reported on Tuesday.
His family released a statement on Tuesday saying DiCicco died Monday night surrounded by his family. He was 68 when he died.
“In honor of Tony’s life, we ask that the emotion evoked by his passing be channeled towards the ideals he embodied: integrity, compassion and love. While sorrow is inevitable in his absence, his strength and grace illuminated a path forward without fear. We are grateful,” the statement said in part.
A field in Wethersfield was dedicated in DiCicco’s honor.
Last fall, DiCicco was at Central Connecticut State University helping coach the women's soccer team. He also got his masters at CCSU.
"His involvement, I have seen him work with 4 and 5 year olds. (It's a) pleasure watching him with the national team- world cups and Olympics - every aspect of soccer he's been involved in," said Mick D'Arcy, the women's soccer coach at CCSU.
DiCicco is a member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame.
DiCicco is survived by his wife Diane and four sons.
In a statement, the Wethersfield school superintendent said "The Wethersfield Public Schools are deeply saddened over the loss of Tony DiCicco. As a proud Wethersfield High School graduate, Tony had a significant impact upon the lives of many. While Tony brought women's soccer to new heights across the country, he never forgot the place he's called home. Tony has left behind generations of athletes who will continue to espouse his values, strong work ethic, and commitment to teamwork. For this, the district is grateful."
On Tuesday, SoccerPlus Camps released a statement that said "It is a profoundly sad day at SoccerPlus Camps and Challenger Sports, as we mourn the passing of one of the truly great people in the world of soccer. Our partner and friend, Tony DiCicco, passed away at his home last night, surrounded by his family. Tony was the head coach of the US Women's National Team from 1994 to 1999 and famously helped guide them to the 1999 World Cup title in the Rose Bowl. He also coached them to a gold medal in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. In 2008, Tony returned to coaching at the international level with the US U-20 Women's National team, leading them to the world championship in Chile. Despite being the most decorated coach in US history, Tony was the most humble person we have ever met. Tony had a tremendous impact on not only the game of soccer around the world, but in the lives of people every day. To echo the thoughts of his family, his life will continue to be celebrated and honored by those who knew him, across the world, and at SoccerPlus Camps and Challenger Sports."
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