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. He was 68.
DiCicco has the most wins in United States history, leading the team to a 105-8-8 record. But no victory was more memorable than the penalty shootout at the Rose Bowl, where the Americans defeated China to win the 1999 World Cup. It is the only World Cup tournament won by the host country.
“While the health challenges Tony faced were confronted head on and with eyes open, we never could have foreseen the beautiful journey that truly defined the magnificence of this man’s life,” the family’s statement read, in part. “We are humbled to experience the sphere of impact Tony had in the world of sport and in the lives of people every day. His life will continue to be celebrated and honored by those who knew and loved him.”
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The reaction across social media displayed that impact Tuesday.
“Tony was one of the finest to grace this planet,” wrote Julie Foudy, a midfielder on the 1999 team. “His spirit will indeed live in us all. I smile (through) the tears. His impact, immense.”
The 1999 World Cup team was often credited for bringing new life to the women’s game. The championship match is the most attended women’s game in history.
“Tony DiCicco played an integral role in getting our program to where it is now,” FC Kansas City captain Becky Sauerbrunn said on her social media accounts. “I am very appreciative of him and his contributions. Sad day.”
DiCicco also coached the women’s national team to a gold medal at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, part of his six-year tenure with the team.
More reaction to his death, via Twitter: