An Obituary as it was published in the Dallas Morning News, July 6th, 2014

“Former Sidekick Pedro Debrito Killed in Car Accident”

UPDATE 7/6 #2: Added a memorial quote from Wichita Wings player Kevin Kewley

UPDATE 7/6 #1: Added a memorial quote from Gordon Jago

Former Dallas Sidekicks midfielder Pedro Debrito died yesterday in Miami, Florida of injuries resulting from an automobile accident he was involved in on July 3rd. No other details of the accident were available at press time.

Debrito was born May 25, 1959 on the island of Cape Verde (off the coast of Africa). He moved with his family to the United States at the age of 15. He attended the University of Connecticut, playing as a forward on the soccer team. His 43 goals as a Huskie rank 4th all time for the school, while his 59 assists remains a UConn. record. As well as being part of the 1981 NCAA Championship team with the Huskies, he was named a first team All-American in 1981, after being named as an “honorable mention” in 1980. UConn named Debrito to their Athletic Hall of Fame in 1999. The Connecticut Soccer Hall of Fame inducted him as a part of their Class of 2000.

Debrito then joined the Tampa Bay Rowdies of the North American Soccer League, who made him the first overall selection in the 1982 college draft. Debrito earned the NASL Rookie of the year award in 1982. He moved to the ill-fated “Team America”, which was intented to be the U.S. National Team playing as an NASL member in 1983. Returning to Tampa in 1984, he was almost immediately traded by then-coach Gordon Jago to the New York Cosmos. After the collapse of both the NASL and the Cosmos (the former in 1984, the latter during the 1984-85 MISL indoor season), Jago recruited Debrito to join him in Dallas as part of the Sidekicks.

Current Sidekicks coach Tatu called Debrito “a strong member of the team.” Tatu roomed with Debrito both as part of the Rowdies and again in Dallas. Debrito scored 28 goals in 1985-86, 3rd best on the second year Sidekicks team behind Tatu (49 goals) and Louie Nanchoff (37). He scored 9 goals during the 1986-87 season before suffering a knee injury that ended his season on February 13, 1987. Even though he was injured, Debrito was on the Dallas bench during the 1987 MISL Finals. Tatu called him “a vital part of the team” during the finals. “He kept up our morale”, Tatu said. “He was always encouraging us and reminding us that we could win the Championship, which we did.”

Gordon Jago said via email this afternoon that Debrito was “a good solid team player, quiet personality and a popular player with his teammates.”

Debrtio was released during the 1987-88 season due to salary cap issues. He moved on to the Wichita Wings, where he played 108 games from 1987-90, scoring 14 goals during those 3 seasons before returning to Dallas for the 1990-91 campaign. Debrito scored 19 goals and assisted on 10 others for the Sidekicks that year.

Kevin Kewley, who played with Debrito in Wichita: “he was just a great player, and an even better person. Pedro was very popular in the dressing room , and the guys loved him. He never said a bad word about anyone.”

Former Sidekicks captain Victor Moreland recruited Debrito to join him in Tulsa, Oklahoma to play for the Tulsa Ambush of the National Professional Soccer League (Division 2 indoor) during the 1991-92 season. Debrito served as the Ambush captain during their sole season in Tulsa. He moved on to the Detroit Rockers of the NPSL for the 1992-93 season, scoring 13 goals in 23 games before retiring as a professional player.

Debrito also earned one cap as part of the U.S. National team in 1983, a 2-0 win over Haiti on April 30, 1983.

The New York based soccer blog “Big Apple Soccer” quoted Debrito’s former Wichita teammate Chico Borja as saying “(he was a) great friend, roommate, and teammate. He will be missed.”

Published in the Dallas Morning News, July 6th, 2014