CHICAGO: Fernando Clavijo, a US 1994 World Cup defender who became a top coach, has died at age 63 after a battle with cancer, his family announced Saturday.
Uruguayan-born Clavijo died Friday at his home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, after a five-year fight with multiple myeloma, cancer of plasma cells (white blood cells).
A career that spanned more than 45 years as a player, coach and technical director led to Clavijo being inducted into the US Soccer Hall of Fame in 2005.
“All of us in the US Soccer family are deeply saddened by the passing of Fernando Clavijo, one of the pioneers of soccer in the United States,” said US Soccer Federation president Carlos Cordeiro.
“As a player, a coach, a mentor and a friend, Fernando impacted the lives of generations of people involved in the sport to which he dedicated his life. Our thoughts today are with his family and friends as we reflect on his great legacy.”
No details regarding funeral and memorial services were announced.
“It is with deep sadness that we share the news of Fernando Clavijo’s passing on February 8 after a courageous battle with cancer,” the Clavijo family said in a statement.
“The support and encouragement he received from friends and the entire soccer community throughout his fight will always be appreciated.
“At this time the Clavjio family requests privacy as we mourn the loss of a great man.”
Clavijo, who played indoor soccer from 1981 through 1992, had 61 caps for the United States from 1990 through 1994.
He served as coach of Major League Soccer’s New England Revolution from 2000-2002 and the Colorado Rapids from 2005-2008, serving as coach for the Haiti national team in between.
Since 2012, he served as technical director for MLS side FC Dallas, stepping down last September to focus on health issues.
“Major League Soccer deeply mourns the passing of Fernando Clavijo, a gifted player, coach and sporting director,” MLS commissioner Don Garber said.
“Fernando was an important leader with three MLS clubs and he played a key role in the league’s player development strategy. More importantly, he was a joy to everyone who knew him and inspired countless young players.
“Fernando fought cancer with strength, courage and grace, and we are all heartbroken by the news of his passing.” —AFP