DiCicco resigns, cites need to spend greater time with his family.CHICAGO (Wednesday, November 3, 1999) -- Tony DiCicco, who recorded more victories than any coach in United States soccer history, resigned today as head coach of the women's national team, effective at the end of the year.
DiCicco took over the U.S. team at the beginning of 1995 and guided the Americans to a third-place finish at the 1995 Women's World Cup in Sweden.
DiCicco revamped the team's style, and along with a core of veteran players, regrouped to win the 1996 Summer Olympics gold medal and the 1999 Women's World Cup, becoming the first coach and first team to hold both titles concurrently. He finished with a 103-8-8 record in full international matches and a winning percentage of .899, both U.S. records.
After making his final decision yesterday, DiCicco spoke to his players and staff via conference call this morning. "I can't think of anyone more deserving of the attention and praise brought on by the U.S. women's national team's success and popularity than Tony DiCicco," said U.S. Soccer Federation president Bob Contiguglia. "He has won every trophy in sight and done it with grace and style. He has been an integral part of the team's success since our first World Cup championship in 1991, and he has met every challenge head on. We respect, understand and admire his desire to share his life with his family."
DiCicco cited the desire to spend more time with his wife and four sons, aged 8 through 17, after spending as many as 250 days a year on the road.
"The main reason I'm stepping down is that it's more important for me to be a world class husband and father than a world class coach," DiCicco said. "When I looked at the generous financial opportunities available to me next year, I didn't see how they could possibly enrich my life more than spending time with my wife and boys. The things I'll miss the most are the players, what they taught me, what we learned together and how they made me feel. And how much fun it was to go after something great together."
He began his career with the U.S. women in 1990 as the goalkeepers coach, and was an assistant on the 1991 Women's World Cup championship team, before taking over the head job from Anson Dorrance in 1995. He continued to train the national team goalkeepers, helping the development of current starter Briana Scurry.
DiCicco's teams won five straight U.S. Women's Cups, and during his tenure, he saw Mia Hamm break the international record for goals scored and Kristine Lilly break the record for most appearances. He was also a force behind organizing and strengthening the youth women's national programs, enabling the under-16, under-18 and under-21 teams to develop and compete internationally.
"U.S. Soccer gave me a tremendous privilege and opportunity when they hired me for the head coaching position," DiCicco said. "When I took over the team, I might not have been the first choice in many people's minds. But (then U.S. Soccer president) Alan Rothenberg and (U.S. Soccer secretary general) Hank Steinbrecher thought I would develop into a coach that would win for them, and I did. I sincerely appreciate the chance U.S. Soccer gave me. I think together we brought women's soccer to a whole new level both in America and globally."