Oct. 22, 2007
By Michael Lewis
THROWING HIS HAT INTO RING
DiCicco wants 2nd shot at national coach
If he was given a second tenure as U.S. women's national coach, Tony DiCicco wouldn't necessarily turn things upside down and its head.
|Recently appointed Boston Breakers head coach Tony DiCicco mayb ein lline for the U.S. Women's National Team job.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
In fact, DiCicco doesn't think the coach who replaces Greg Ryan on the National Team should mess with things that much.
"The U.S. is a good team," he said Monday. ""We shouldn't expect to do a complete overhaul of the team and throw all the players out. Itís not bad at all.
"I think it's a little bit of tweaking. It's finding a special player that makes the other players special and get everybody on the same page and make sure we're confident. You can tell the difference in confidence between the U.S. and Brazil and the U.S. and Germany. Players have to be confident if their going to play their best."
DiCicco threw his hat into the ring Monday evening after U.S. Soccer announced that it was not going to renew Ryan's contract for 2008 and beyond.
"It's a unique and special position in sports and certainly the best position in women's soccer world-wide," DiCicco said.
According to sources, DiCicco already has spoken to U.S. Soccer about the job.
"I'm not at liberty to comment about it," he said.
During a conference call with the media about an hour prior, U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati wouldn't say whether DiCicco had been contacted.
ďIím not going to get into specific candidates," he said. "Thereís a pretty simple reason for that. Some of the people that we are going to be talking to are in employment situations that would not necessarily preclude them from joining us at the right time but that they wouldnít want to be upsetting right now. If Iím not going to be talking about some, then itís very hard to talk about others.
"Tony, in the aspect, obviously, is a very successful coach. Heís coached at a high level and he knows the American game, so he fits those criteria that I mentioned, but Iím not going to talk about whether weíve talked to him or are going to.Ē
If DiCicco is named coach, he said the Boston Breakers wouldn't get in the way. DiCicco recently signed as coach of the Breakers, who will play with the revived women's pro league when it opens in 2009.
"Joe Cummings's (Breakers general manager) been great and the ownership of the Boston Breakers is great."
DiCicco said that the Breakers management told him that, "If you're under consideration we won't want the Boston Breakers to be in the way of that.' They're proud they're considering our coach."
DiCicco, who was a color commentator for ESPN during the last monthís WCC, brings an impressive resume to the team -- as coach of the 1996 Olympic gold-medal team and of the 1999 Women's World Cup championship side.
"I was fortunate. I had a great team to coach. They had vision. They had talent and they had resolve.
"They wanted the top prize every time they went out."
It's been eight years since DiCicco coached at the international level -- he left in 1999 due to personal reasons. The game has changed in some respects and stayed the same in others.
Take, for example, the top-shelf teams.
"I honestly felt there were more teams capable of winning the World Cup in 1999 then there were in this World Cup," he said. China, the U.S., Norway, Brazil and Germany were all capable of winning the World Cup. This time around it was always just Germany, Brazil and the USA that were capable of winning it.
"There were other exciting performances -- England, Australia, North Korea. But at the end of the day, there are really only three teams that were capable of winning it."
The American women are but a handful of teams in the world that are expected to win every time out.
"The fans, everybody in this country expect them to win gold," DiCicco said. "Personally, I think that's great. If you look on the men's side of the game, probably the Brazilian men -- maybe Germany, maybe Italy -- they go into a tournament and its not a success unless they're world champions and winning with style and flair.
"That's not a bad thing for the U.S. to expect from the women. Expectation is often the perquisite to performance and results."