New England Soccer Today

NE Soccer HOF’er, Revs staffer Branco Killed in Crash

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

New England Soccer Hall of Famer and New England Revolution gameday staffer Hernani “Ernie” Branco, 61, was killed in a single-vehicle crash early Sunday morning in Norton, Mass.

Branco, who was inducted into the Hall in 2005, died after the Cadillac CTS he was driving crashed into a guard rail on Richardson Ave. around 2:40am, according to a police statement. He was taken by ambulance to Rhode Island Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

Norton police are investigating the cause of the crash.

Branco, who lived in Norton, served as a gameday staffer for the Revolution, and was a familiar face near the team’s technical area in recent years.

He served as the boys soccer coach at Brockton High School and coached at Stonehill College, as well.  Under his watch, Stonehill men’s side went 151-118-25 (.556) in 15 seasons from 1984 through 1998, and led the squad to Northeast-10 championships in 1985, 1990 and 1991. He was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame shortly after his retirement.

Although the Portugal-born Branco had retired as a coach and educator, he remained invested in the game. He attended the 2013 New England Soccer Hall of Fame induction ceremony last month, and was on the field for September’s Brazil-Portugal friendly at Gillette Stadium.

Branco is survived by his wife, Jennifer, and their three children, Tiffany, Jordan and Morgan. Jordan Branco played for the Western Mass Pioneers in 2012.


  1. luis

    December 9, 2013 at 12:33 am

    Ernie was a real gentleman and a real fan when he was watching jordan play.

  2. Jim

    December 9, 2013 at 7:00 am

    Rest in peace Ernie Branco. Always had a smile and a friendly hello for everyone.

  3. Bill McDonald

    December 9, 2013 at 8:01 am

    Ernie was a real class act, very sad day

  4. Paula SmithMacDonald

    December 9, 2013 at 11:18 am

    Absolute tragedy. so sad for the Branco family. Ernie was one of the nicest guys and loved coaching kids…. he will be sorely missed …

  5. Peter Levesque

    December 9, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    My deepest sympathy goes out to the whole family! He was one of the most real and quality human beings I have ever meet! God Bless!

  6. David Borts

    December 9, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    What a terrible loss to the Soccer Community and the Band of Brothers and Sisters of the NESHOF

  7. Bob Falke

    December 9, 2013 at 7:59 pm

    Ernie the game of soccer will never be the same for me at Gillette

  8. Melissa

    December 9, 2013 at 8:30 pm

    Worked with Ernie for years at BHS. He was such a great guy and always put a huge smile on your face.

  9. Vic Mendes

    December 9, 2013 at 10:24 pm

    Sad news. Refereed many games with Ernie. My friend, you’ll be missed.

  10. Bill Dittmar

    December 9, 2013 at 11:47 pm

    Since I found out last night I have been in shock. I am one of the many referee friends that Ernie made many years ago and our friendship grew every year. I always looked forward to seeing him at Foxboro when we came up to ref a game. Sat at about 2:30 est, he called us before the MLS Cup and I put him on speaker where he gave our whole crew his normal “Go get ’em boys speech”. He told us “to stay focused and be the best team out there, to stick together, to savor the moment and to know that he loves us all.” We went onto the field with his words of wisdom filling our heads not knowing that we would not speak to him again. Every moment in life is precious and Ernie has reminded us all to savor every part of it. I vow to never forget those words and to pass them on always in Ernie’s honor. His legacy lives on in so many ways and in the hearts of so many of us who loved him and who he loved. God bless you Ernie. I look forward to some day reuniting with you in heaven and watching some matches together. You have left a legacy that will be carried on by your children and Jen and all the others you have touched. Well done, God’s faithful and loving servant!
    Bill Dittmar – MLS Official – Long time friend

Leave a Reply