Ex-UConn soccer great Pedro DeBrito dies following accident in Miami

Pedro DeBrito, an All-American and key member of UConn's 1981 NCAA championship men's soccer team, died Saturday from injuries sustained in a car accident on July 3 in Miami, Florida. He was 55.

"Pedro was a wonderful young man who was positive about his teammates and everything around him," retired UConn coach Joe Morrone said in a statement released by the university on Monday. "I recruited him out of Waterbury and he came to UConn to become a major part of our national championship team. It is really a tremendous loss to all of us at UConn."

DeBrito was a major contributor all four seasons at UConn (1978-81). The Huskies made the NCAA tournament all four years and he capped his career by helping UConn win the 1981 national title. DeBrito, a forward, scored 10 goals and added 20 assists (still a single-season record) as the Huskies went 20-3-2 and beat Alabama A&M in the championship game. He finished his career with 43 goals and a school record 59 assists.

"Pedro was one of the greatest players to ever perform at the University of Connecticut," said current UConn coach Ray Reid. "He was a brilliant player and a better person. The whole UConn soccer family grieves his loss. Pedro is the bar with which we still measure outstanding players at UConn."

Following his college career, DeBrito was the No. 1 overall selection in the 1982 draft of collegiate soccer stars, joining the Tampa Bay Rowdies of the North American Soccer League, where he was named NASL Rookie of the Year.

He 12-year pro career ended in 1993.

DeBrito was born in Cape Verde and moved to Portugal when he was nine before his family settled in Waterbury when he was 15.

- Day Staff Reports

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