CHICAGO (Wednesday, August 27, 2003) – U.S. Soccer is mourning the loss of a true pioneer for the sport of soccer across the United States and within his community in Portland. Clive Charles, who coached internationally for the United States in a number of capacities across the past decade, passed away Tuesday after a long battle against prostate cancer. Charles, 51, was surrounded by his family at his home in Portland at the time of his passing."Clive will be remembered as much for what he accomplished on the field, as what he did off the field," said U.S. Soccer President Dr. S. Robert Contiguglia. "He was a man who developed the game in every significant way possible in this country, from his playing days in the NASL straight through to the development of young athletes on both the men's and women's side of the sport. More importantly, he was a friend, a guide and a mentor to all of those who were touched by his kindness and generosity. While his presence will be truly missed, his spirit will continue to echo throughout the lives of those who knew him."
Charles had a distinguished coaching career, at both the domestic and international levels. Named the U.S. Men’s National Team assistant coach in 1995, he serve alongside Steve Sampson at the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France. He began his tenure as the U.S. Men’s Olympic Team coach in 1997, leading the U.S Under-23 Men's National team to a best-ever fourth-place finish at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. A year prior, he coached the U-23's to a bronze medal at the 1999 Pan American Games in Winnipeg, Canada. He also served as the head coach of the U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team from 1993 to 1996.
"Clive Charles was instrumental in the progress of soccer in the United States on both the men's and women's side of the game," said U.S. MNT Manager Bruce Arena. "His contributions at both the collegiate and national team levels speak for themselves. He will be sorely missed, and we express our deepest sympathies to his family."
Charles began his college coaching career at the University of Portland, assuming the reigns of the men's team in 1986, and taking over the women's program three years later. He amassed a combined 439-144-44 record between the men's and women's teams, which included 13 conference titles, 20 NCAA tournament berths and seven Final Four appearances. He capped his illustrious college coaching career by leading the Lady Pilots to the 2002 national championship, the first NCAA Division I title in school history.
The London-born defender played soccer professionally for 17 years, including four years (1978-81) for the Portland Timbers of the North American Soccer League. He was a three-time NASL all-star and was named to the All-Time NASL Team. In 2003, Charles was inducted into the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame. He also has been honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Women's United Soccer Association.
While his family is planning a private service, the University of Portland plans to have a memorial service in the Earle A. and Virginia H. Chiles Center on Sept. 8. The family is also planning to establish the Clive Charles Foundation to help fund cancer research. More information will be available at a later date.