Tony DiCicco: The 99ers Forged A Team Culture Of Welcoming Challenge
Tony DiCicco coached the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team to its momentous victory in the 1999 World Cup. As a PCA National Advisory Board Member (in memoriam), he was also the founder of the SoccerPlus camp & academy program in Connecticut and the co-author of Catch Them Being Good: Everything You Need to Know to Successfully Coach Girls.
Here, DiCicco recalls the team environment that characterized the "99ers." He points out that players did not view themselves as sacrificing for the team because they loved what they were doing. Another key cultural element was the recognition that a climb to the top was more a roller-caster than a straight line, with ups and downs influenced by injuries, off days and other challenges.
One of the greatest challenges for many of the players was the arrival of new players competing for positions on the team. However, the team culture dictated the welcoming of new players, embracing the challenges of the competition they offered and recognizing that there was still plenty of potential for each player to elevate her game.