Thanks to Joe Morrone, Sr., UConn Men's Soccer was on the map in the late 1970's as a respected national player in contending for National Championships. But the torturous losses that led up to an eventual National Championship finally in 1981 weren't easy to process. As the Huskies made that climb to the top, many players played key roles, including one who didn't get to enjoy that Title on the field. 1980 Senior and Herman Trophy Winner as the best player in the country in Joe Morrone, Jr.
The Middlebury, CT Native, along with his younger brother, Bill and Sister Missy, all played on the pitch of the UConn Soccer Stadium. For Joe, Jr, it was full of regular season success. 19-6 in 1978, where they won 5 straight heading into a 3-0 loss to Philadelphia Textile in the NCAA's. In 1979, a 19-7 season ended in the New England's with a second straight loss to URI. But 1980 had promise with Joe, a senior, Brother Bill, Erhardt Kapp and the dangerous combo of Elvis Comrie & Pedro DeBrito.
The season began with wins over SIU-Edwardsville and St. Louis before a 1-0 loss at Indiana on September 7th. The next 20 matches saw UConn go 19-0-1. Plowing thru Duke, NC State and Virginia, along with all the New England Teams on teh schedule. The lone blemish was a scoreless draw with Penn State in early November. After a 6-0 pasting of Rhode Island in the season finale, BU awaited the Huskies in the New England Final of the NCAA Tournament. The Huskies won 4-0 in September, this time 6-0 to send UConn to the quarterfinals where UConn could never hurdle. Outscoring opponents 85-11 for the season, despite being the third ranked team in the country, they had to visit Hartwick College, the New York Champs, up near Cooperstown to decide who would go to Tampa. The Huskies again were denied by their rival 1-0 ending a record setting season. 21-2-1. The Twenty One Wins a school record.
The high powered Huskies DeBrito 15g-13a, Comrie 17g-12a and Morrone, Jr led the way with 22g-13a en route to becoming the first Husky of four to win the Herman Trophy as the Nation's Top College Soccer Player. When he graduated, he left and is still UConn's All Time Leading Scorer with 61g and 36 assists. What he wanted was title for Dad....Joe Sr would get it in 1981.
Morrone looked as if he was headed to the Moscow Olympics in 1980, as he played for the U.S., scoring three key goals that had the Americans qualified. Sadly, there would be no trip as President Jimmy Carter didn't send a team in protest of the Soviets in Afghanistan.
An NASL Career was coming for Joe, Jr....a Tulsa Roughnecks draft pick where he won the league's Rookie of the Year, scoring 9 goals in his first season. But that would be the extent of his pro production. Traded to San Jose and limited time playing, he eventually retired abruptly in 1984 after a pair of indoor seasons with Golden Bay and Pittsburgh to finish his degree in business.
In 1980, Joseph M. Marrone aka "Joe Jr" joined Erhardt Kapp as All Americans. A record season left incomplete. But Dad and his family, led on the field by the oldest Morrone son, left his mark on the program. A UConn Legend