November 18, 2016 (Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea) — Every two years, the best teams in the world gather to compete for the title of FIFA World Champion. This year, the U20 Women’s World Cup is being hosted by Papua New Guinea (PNG). The PNG team has assembled 21 players from across the diverse island nation of 8 million people in which 872 languages are spoken by more than 1000 tribes.
Earlier this year, the PNG group took advantage of the unique opportunity as they prepared to host this event and compete for the first time in a major tournament. As part of that process, they traveled to Washington, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia on a United States tour under the guidance of former Boston Breakers (WPS) and University of Rhode Island coach, Lisa Cole. Having previously worked together at SoccerPlus, the company founded by Tony DiCicco – Anthony’s father in 1982, Cole invited Anthony DiCicco, Jr., to join the PNG staff for this historic occasion:
“Anthony brings a wealth of knowledge, experience and passion for the game. Coupling that with his experiences with players in this age group and his work in developing countries, he was an exceptionally good fit for my staff as we compete against some of the best teams in the world in Group A in which we drew Brazil, Sweden and North Korea.”
DiCicco’s temporary assignment returns him to the sidelines after having previously coached elite players at the collegiate level (UCLA, Vermont and Trinity College) and with the Elite Clubs National League (ECNL) as well as with SoccerPlus CT in the WPSL.
This is not his first trip to the U20 World Cup; he served as a scout for the United States in the 2008 U20 World Cup in Chile, in which his father coached the United States to gold. That event launched the careers of Olympic and World Cup Champions Alex Morgan, Sydney Leroux, Meghan Klingenberg and Alyssa Naeher as well as a number of other professional players.
“As the Director of Soccer for AstroTurf, I have the privilege and honor of engaging stakeholders across the US and around the world in the important conversation surrounding the state of fields and importantly, the impact fields have on players and matches. I am incredibly grateful that AstroTurf has extended me the flexibility to pursue this opportunity with what are a remarkable group of young women who have come together to represent Papua New Guinea on the world’s stage,” said Anthony DiCicco.
DiCicco and AstroTurf are very familiar with FIFA and the Women’s World Cup having constructed several fields for the 2015 Women’s World Cup held in Canada — the first time a senior event was played entirely on synthetic pitches. The World Cup Final — won by the United States was played on a pitch at BC Place provided by AstroTurf’s sister company Polytan. DiCicco elaborated:
“All fields are not equal when it comes to soccer. Four years ago, I left coaching to join AstroTurf’s pursuit of systems – including base, pads, turf and infill – that better serve the athletes who utilize them around the world every day. There was a complacency in the market because for a very long time, most synthetic fields were made in a one-size-fits-all manner which yielded heavy infill crumb rubber fields. The entire AstroTurf team has worked tirelessly to change that and to educate owners and end users on the implications of the fields they build, as they previously have with baseball, the Diamond Series, and Field Hockey. It’s soccer’s turn.”
As a part of that ongoing commitment to the soccer community, AstroTurf has recently engaged in a four-year commitment to the National Soccer Coaches’ Association (NSCAA) to be the Official Provider of Synthetic Turf for their annual convention, this year taking place January 11-15 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. AstroTurf will build 46,000 square feet of Golden Series demo fields for the largest gathering of coaches annually anywhere in the world.
AstroTurf wishes all the teams, but especially PNG, the best as they begin their quest in the U20 World Cup.
For more information about AstroTurf’s Soccer Systems, please visit www.astroturf.com/soccer or e-mail Anthony directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about the FIFA U20 World Cup in Papua New Guinea, visit http://www.fifa.com/u20womensworldcup.