Letter: A tribute to a Connecticut soccer coaching leader
To the Editor:
Last week we lost Tony DeCicco, and I am writing to honor his contribution to Connecticut girls’ soccer. He put great time and effort into teaching coaches in this state how to teach soccer to girls.
In 1980, I started coaching my 12-year-old daughter’s travel soccer team. Having coached boys travel hockey, I had no experience and little understanding of soccer. So, I contacted the Connecticut Junior Soccer Association and began taking a series of licensing courses taught by Tony DeCicco and others.
He taught a new approach to practice, stressing high intensity touches on the ball to develop ball skills and small-sided games for team-combination play. This system was developed to offset the fact that, unlike Europeans and Latinos, American kids don’t play soccer by the hour outside of practice. The results of his efforts contributed to the extensive growth of girls’ soccer in Connecticut.
Later, he helped form the Connecticut Olympic Development Program for girls to provide an entre for talented players to the U.S. Olympic Program. He taught my middle daughter goalie skills as part of that program. He was a leader in Women’s soccer in the U.S. and Connecticut and he will be missed.
The writer is the moderator of Darien's Representative Town Meeting.