Former University of Connecticut star Pedro DeBrito, whose career earned him election into the Connecticut Soccer Hall of Fame in 2000, died on Sunday after he was critically injured in a car accident in Miami late last week. He was 55.
DeBrito scored 43 goals and added a school-record 59 assists for the Huskies during his four years at UConn. During his senior year, the Huskies won the 1981 NCAA Championship. He was named to the university’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 1999.
“It is a really a tremendous loss to all of us at UConn, he was one of the best athletes we had here in any sport,” former UConn coach Joe Morrone told the Hartford Courant on Monday. “He did a great job of being a highlight for our team and was the player to watch on the field as a fan.”
The Cape Verde-born playmaker parlayed his collegiate success to a colorful pro career that started the following year when the Tampa Bay Rowdies selected him as the NASL’s first overall pick in the college draft. DeBrito lived up to the hype by earning Rookie of the Year honors in 1982.
The following year, he was sent to Team America, where he’d eventually earn his first and only National Team cap with the U.S. in a 2-0 win over Haiti on Apr. 30.
During a pro career that extended through 1993, the former UConn star played for the New York Cosmos, Dallas Sidekicks, Wichita Wings, Tulsa Ambush, Albany Capitals and Detroit Rockers, featuring in both indoor and outdoor leagues. In his final season with the Rockers, he scored 13 goals in 23 games.