July 7, 2014
STORRS, Conn. - Pedro DeBrito, 55, an All-American men's soccer star at the University of Connecticut and a member of UConn's 1981 NCAA National Championship team, died July 5 of injuries sustained from an automobile accident he was involved in on July 3 in Miami, Florida.
During DeBrito's four varsity seasons at UConn (1978-81) the Huskies of head coach Joe Morrone compiled an overall record of 79-18-3, the winningest four-year span in program history. UConn earned four consecutive NCAA berths during that period, including winning the 1981 NCAA Division I National Championship.
"Pedro was a wonderful young man who was positive about his teammates and everything around him," said Morrone. "I recruited him out of Waterbury and he came to UConn to become a major part of our national championship team.
"He was a really good forward and a little bit ahead of his time in terms of being able to receive a pass. He had the ability to receive a pass and hold on to the ball more than most other forwards. He allowed the midfielders and backs to get involved in the play after he received a pass.
"It is really a tremendous loss to all of us at UConn and was one of the best athletes we had here in any sport. He did a great job of being a highlight for our team and was the player to watch on the field as a fan."
DeBrito was an iron man on the field for the Huskies, never missing a contest in four varsity seasons, playing in exactly 100 matches. During UConn's 1981 national championship season, the Huskies had a 20-3-2 record and DeBrito scored 10 goals and added 20 assists.
The 20 assists still stand as the single-season all-time best at Connecticut. DeBrito is UConn's all-time career leader in assists with 59 and he also contributed 43 goals, which ranks No. 5 on the UConn career list. He ranks No. 2 in career points scored with 145.
As well as helping lead UConn to the 1981 NCAA Championship, DeBrito was named a first team All-American in 1981 and was a finalist for the Hermann Trophy, symbolic of the top collegiate soccer star in the country.
"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 at UConn, 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. DeBrito lived up to the high expectations by earning the NASL Rookie of the Year award in 1982.
He moved to the "Team America" franchise, during the 1983 NASL season before returning to Tampa for the 1983-84 indoor season. He was traded to the New York Cosmos in 1984, playing indoors and outdoors through 1985.
After the NASL went out of business, DeBrito continued his soccer career in the original Major Indoor Soccer League, first with the Dallas Sidekicks and then the Wichita Wings. He had a short stint with the Albany Capitals in the American Soccer League before again playing for the Sidekicks and then the Tulsa Ambush of the National Professional Indoor Soccer League (NPSL). He concluded his 12-year professional career with the Detroit Rockers of the NPSL in 1993.
During his pro career, DeBrito performed for eight teams spanning four leagues.
He also earned one cap with the United States National Team in 1983.
DeBrito was born May 25, 1959 on the island of Cape Verde (off the coast of Africa). He moved with his family to Portugal when he was nine years old and moved to the United States at age 15, settling in Waterbury, Conn.
He was the son of John and Angelina (Gomes) DeBrito Sr. of Miami, Fla. He moved to Miami from Waterbury, Conn. in 2001 and he worked at Drew Estate Cigar Company for the past 13 years. Besides his parents he leaves a brother, John DeBrito Jr. of Miami, five sisters, Fernanda DeBrito of Prospect, Conn., Angela DiBrito-Job of Miami, Valeriana DeBrito of Rocky Hill, Conn., Vera DeBrito-Esdaile and her husband David of New Haven, Conn. and Maria Paula Camoes and her husband Jose of Cape Verde Islands and his girlfriend, Francesca Rucci of Miami, Conn.
Arrangements: Calling hours will be held Thursday, July 10 from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Florida Funeral Home and Crematory 1495 North West, 17th Avenue, Miami, Fla. Additional calling hours and a Mass will be celebrated in Connecticut.
For more info or to send E-Condolences visit: www.chaseparkwaymemorial.com.