|An Obituary as it was published in the Hartford Courant,
July 7th, 2014
“UConn Soccer Great Pedro DeBrito, 55, Dies After Car Crash”
Pedro DeBrito, a striker on the UConn soccer national championship team in 1981 and the rookie of the year in the North American Soccer League in 1982, died Saturday from injuries sustained in a car accident in Miami two days earlier He was 55.
DeBrito, who never played high school soccer in Waterbury because the public high schools did not offer the sport at the time, was a four-year starter at UConn. He was a Hermann Trophy finalist and first-team All-American in 1981 and honorable mention All-American in 1980. DeBrito had 20 assists at UConn in 1979 and again 1981, a record that still stands. He had 59 assists in his career and is the all-time leade. rHe played in 100 games at UConn, never missing one.
"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 said. "He did a great job of being a highlight for our team and was the player to watch on the field as a fan."
Morrone coached DeBrito for four seasons from 1978-1981 when UConn compiled a 79-18-3 record, the best four-year span in program history. DeBrito scored a goal in the national semifinals and assisted on both of UConn's goals in its 2-1 victory over Alabama A&M in overtime in the 1981 NCAA title game.
"[DeBrito] was one of the greatest players to ever perform at the University of Connecticut," UConn coach Ray Reid said. "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."
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 9, and to the United States at 15, settling in Waterbury.
At UConn DeBrito became one of the team's most important and successful players. His 43 goals ranks fifth all-time at UConn. DeBrito is tied with Elvis Comrie for second in points with 145Joseph Morrone (1977-80) is No.1 at 158.
"Pedro was a wonderful young man, who was positive about his teammates and everything around him," Morrone said". I recruited him out of Waterbury and there was no high school soccer at that point, so he was playing for a club team. He came to UConn and became a major part of [the 1981] national championship team."
Along with his 20 assists, DeBrito scored 10 goals in 1981 when UConn went 20-3-2In 1980, DeBrito had what remains one of the best seasons in program history when he scored 15 goals with 13 assists, seventh among season scoring records.
"He was a really good forward and a little bit ahead of his time in terms of being able to receive a pass," Morrone said". 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."
DeBrito also had two six-point games and made the NSCAA All-New England/Northeast team three consecutive years (1979-1981). He was inducted into the school's athletic Hall of Fame in 1999 and the Connecticut Soccer Hall of Fame in 2000.
DeBrito was drafted No1 in the NASL by the Tampa Bay Rowdies in 1982. He played in 28 of 32 games as a rookie, scoring two goals with four assists. He went on to play with Team America in 1983 and then again with Tampa for the 1983-1984 indoor season. In 1984 DeBrito was traded to the New York Cosmos, where he stayed until the NASL folded.
After the NASL and the Cosmos, DeBrito played in the MISL with the Dallas Sidekicks and Wichita Wings.
He played one game with the U.Snational team in 1983, a 2-0 win over Haiti.
His brother John DeBrito played at Southern (1987-90) and for the U.Snational team in 1991 and 1992.
"He was my hero, I'd follow him anywhere," John DeBrito said. "I miss my brothe. rHe was just a great human being. He won't be forgotten. He was just a bigger-than-life personality. He touched people all over in such a warm way. People loved him."
John DeBrito said there will be a ceremony in Miami followed by a wake and funeral in Waterbury. Details haven't been finalized.
Besides John, Pedro leaves his parents, Angelina and John Debrito Sr. of Miami and sisters Vera DeBrito Esdaile of New Haven, Valerie DeBrito of Rocky Hill, Angela DeBrito of Miami and Fernanda of Prospect.
Published in the Hartford Courant, July 7th, 2014