A prominent figure in U.S. Soccer and Major League Soccer, Fernando Clavijo passed away on Friday at the age of 63 following a five-year battle with multiple myeloma.
“Major League Soccer deeply mourns the passing of Fernando Clavijo, a gifted player, coach and sporting director,” said MLS Commissioner Don Garber. “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.”
“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, where Clavijo served as technical director for over six years.
“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.”
Fernando Clavijo with Clark and Dan Hunt at the National Soccer Hall of Fame inauguration in October 2018. | Courtesy: FC Dallas
A member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame, the native of Uruguay served as head coach of the New England Revolution (2000-'02) and Colorado Rapids (2005-'08), and during his time at the helm of FC Dallas, the club won the Supporters’ Shield and U.S. Open Cup in 2016. He stepped down last September to focus on his health.
“Fernando was a soccer pioneer. His knowledge and passion for the sport were unparalleled. While he was a phenomenal soccer mind, he was an ever better person who brightened the day of everyone he met,” FC Dallas president Dan Hunt said.
Clavijo, who was also an assistant coach for the MetroStars in 1999, he served as an assistant coach for the Nigerian national team in 1998 and he was Haiti's national team coach from 2003-'05.
He capped 61 times for the United States and he was a member of the US roster for the 1994 FIFA World Cup, starting three matches, including the historic 2-1 win over Colombia at the Rose Bowl on June 22, 1994.
Fernando Clavijo in action for the US national team at the 1994 FIFA World Cup. | Courtesy: USA Today Sports Images
The Clavijo family issued the following statement: "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 Clavjio 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."
Fernando Clavijo gives his US Soccer Hall of Fame induction speech in 2005. | Courtesy: US Soccer