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Fernando Clavijo, National Soccer Hall of Fame member, dies at 63

National Soccer Hall of Fame member Fernando Clavijo, who was part of the U.S. squad at the 1994 World Cup, died Friday at age 63.

Clavijo died at his home in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and had battled multiple myeloma, a form of blood cancer, for five years.

Clavijo had a prominent career as a coach and club executive with Major League Soccer. The Uruguay native served as head coach of the New England Revolution (2000-02) and Colorado Rapids (2005-08), and served as technical director at FC Dallas for six years.

At FC Dallas, he guided the club to a Supporters' Shield and U.S. Open Cup in 2016. He stepped down last September to focus on his health.

A family statement read: "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 support and encouragement he received from friends and the entire soccer community throughout his fight will always be appreciated. At this time the Clavijo family requests privacy as we mourn the loss of a great man and no additional statements will be made. Further details on remembrances and a celebration of his life will be shared in the near future."

As a player, Clavijo had 61 caps with the United States national squad and started three matches at the 1994 World Cup. In addition to his stellar outdoor career, Clavijo was a 12-time All-Star as an indoor player. He was named Major Indoor Soccer League Defender of the Year three times, was named the league's top player of the decade for the 1980s, and played on three championship teams with the San Diego Sockers.

"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. We offer our condolences to his wife, Martha, their sons, Nico and Jonathan, and Fernando's many friends throughout the soccer community."

Clavijo was also an assistant coach for the MetroStars in 1999, as well as an assistant coach for the Nigerian national team in 1998 and Haiti's national-team coach from 2003 through 2005.

"Our family is deeply saddened by the loss of Fernando, and our heartfelt condolences are with Martha and the Clavijo family in this difficult time," said Clark Hunt, chairman of FC Dallas."From his days as a player with the U.S. men's national team to his time as a coach and technical director in Major League Soccer, Fernando made a significant impact on American soccer. But beyond the pitch, his warmth, enthusiasm and joyful spirit made him beloved by everyone who knew him. He will be dearly missed."

Clavijo was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2005.

Information from Reuters was used in this report. 

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