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Michael Lewis

April 7, 2014
DiCicco would make a good candidate to replace Sermanni

By Michael Lewis Editor

During his conference call with the media on Monday, U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati said that he had a short list of candidates to replace the departed Tom Sermanni as U.S. women's national coach.

Sermanni was given his packing orders by Gulati in a stunning firing on Sunday night, only hours after the Americans blanked China, 2-0, in an international friendly.

Well, Gulati traditionally won't say which candidates are on his short list, but just in case he doesn't have this one particular person, I'll thrown his name into the ring:

Tony DiCicco.

He's been there and done it and he knows the international ropes.

Yes, it has been 15 years since he guided the U.S. women. He also is the last coach to direct the Americans to the Women's World Cup crown -- in 1999 and is the only U.S. coach to pull off the rare double -- capturing the WWC and Olympic gold medal.

DiCicco hasn't been away from coaching at the highest levels. He led the U.S. Under-20 team to the FIFA world championship at that age level in 2008 and directed the Boston Breakers in Women's Professional Soccer from 2009-2011 before the league went under.

Moreover, he has also the gravitas and reputation to get instant respect, something not many coaches would be able to do, especially within a short amount of time. Remember, the clock is ticking with CONCACAF qualifying for the 2015 Women's World Cup in October.

There are a number of National Women's Soccer League coaches who certainly can be viable candidates, including Portland Thorns coach Paul Riley and Houston Dash coach Randy Waldrum and Western New York Flash coach Aaran Lines.

But with opening weekend only a few days away, it certainly would not be fair or right to pull anyone away from his or her team (doing it in September or October is another matter).

Coaching the U.S. women is a demanding job with the highest risks possible because there is little room for error.

I always have said that the Americans are to women's soccer as Brazilians are to men's soccer. Both teams are expected to win every time they step onto the field and whatever trophy or medal there is in a competition. Second-place or a silver medal is not considered good enough.

Translated: failure is not an option and will be dealt with accordingly (just ask Greg Ryan, who was fired after only one loss in 50 games -- in the 2007 WWC semifinals).

Sermanni became the first U.S. coach to be dismissed without any failure in either the WWC or Olympics since the competitions began.

DiCicco, on the other hand, has won both competitions and could be the man to lead the U.S. to its first WWC title in 16 years.

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