Fernando Clavijo, a Uruguayan-born defender who rose to prominence in the United States as a player, manager and director, passed away Friday after a nearly five-year battle with multiple myeloma.
Fernando Clavijo came to the United States in 1979 to join the New York Apollo of the American Soccer League. He would stay in the U.S., eventually gaining American citizenship in 1987. That decision led to the unlikely role he played in the 1994 FIFA World Cup, where a 38-year-old Clavijo would start three of four games for the host Americans.
Clavijo’s coaching career began as a player-coach in 1991, but he would spend most of the rest of his life on the sidelines. His first journey to South Florida came in 1998, when he led the Florida ThunderCats of the National Professional Soccer League, an indoor team based at what is now the BB&T Center in Broward County.
He would spend time leading two Major League Soccer clubs (New England Revolution 2000-2002, Colorado Rapids 2005-2008) and one national team (Haiti 2003-2005).
After his stint with Colorado, he took a job with Traffic Sports USA, serving as the Director of Soccer for the company and for Miami FC, its entry into the United Soccer League.
From there, Clavijo became FC Dallas’ Technical Director. He remained in that position until his death in Fort Lauderdale on Friday.