Tag Archives: University of Connecticut men’s soccer team

UConn, Southern CT Soccer Teams Make Sports History At Staples

When the University of Connecticut men’s soccer team plays Southern Connecticut State University on Saturday, April 2o, local history may be made.

It could be the first time a college game — in any sport — has been held in Westport. The match is set for 1 p.m., at Staples High School’s Loeffler Field.

But even if that’s been done before, this is a historic encounter. The 2 teams — UConn, a Division I national powerhouse, and SCSU a storied Division II program — seldom meet.

It’s a significant moment. And it’s at Staples’ famed Hill, because of a very important Westport connection.

The match is a fundraiser for the Dennis Murphy Scholarship. It benefits players on the Southern Connecticut team.

Dennis Murphy

Murphy was one of Staples’ most legendary, competitive and hard-nosed players. He played on the Wreckers’ state championship squads in 1971 and ’72, then headed to Southern. As a captain and, later, assistant coach under Bob Dikranian, Murphy helped lay the groundwork for the Owls’ success.

Murphy spent many years as coach of all age groups, including Westport’s powerhouse Bridge Grille teams, and with the Westport Soccer Association. He died in 2016, after a long battle with cancer.

Southern established a scholarship fund in his name. UConn is happy to help raise funds for the scholarship program — and not just because coach Ray Reid began his career at Southern. Murphy’s brother Kenny (Staples ’76) was a UConn captain. He is now the head coach at Connecticut College, in New London.

The April 20 match is a chance for soccer fans of all ages to watch 2 excellent college teams — on the same field where Murphy and his 3 brothers (including Kenny, Ed ’74 and Kevin ’77) played. Owl and Husky players will be available after the match too, for photos and autographs.

The Staples, SCSU and UConn soccer programs all support this event. Donations will be collected there for the fund. If you can’t be there — or want to contribute now — click here, or send a check to Southern Connecticut State University Foundation, 501 Crescent Street, New Haven, CT 06515. Write “Dennis Murphy Scholarship” on the memo line.

Giorgio: The Sequel

Earlier this month, I wrote about the day in 1977 when Giorgio Chinaglia and the New York Cosmos played an exhibition soccer match at Green’s Farms Academy.

Carlos Almeida posted a comment, noting that the Cosmos played on Beachside Avenue not once, but twice.

The 2nd time was nearly 6 years later. In the spring of 1983, the world-famous NASL team returned to Westport. This time their opponent was the University of Connecticut — with a goalkeeper from Danbury named Carlos Almeida.

Two years earlier, the Huskies had won the national championship. This time, Carlos recalls, “the Cosmos took it easy on us.”

By 1983, superstars Pele, Franz Beckenbauer and Carlos Alberto were retired. But Giorgio Chinaglia — chain-smoking, moody, and as electrifying a goal scorer as ever — was there.

Carlos sent a few photos of that day. It was his last game for UConn. What a way to go out, he says — against his favorite pro team.

And it all happened on a tiny field, tucked away behind a small private school in Westport.

The Cosmos (blue) pose for a photo with the University of Connecticut. Giorgio Chinaglia is just out of the frame; he was next to #8 Vladislav Bogicevic (first row, far right). Carlos Almeida is the goalkeeper in the front row, wearing yellow.

University of Connecticut head coach Joe Morrone gives a halftime talk to his team at Green's Farms Academy. Note the fans hanging from a tree on the left.