UConn Legend - MSOC All American Maurizio Rocha 1998

By the time Maurizio Rocha left UConn, he was a terrific midfielder and playmaker that earned him All American Honors and Big East Offensive Player of the Year in 1998...As the Huskies returned to the NCAA's...But how he got there is interesting..

Rocha grew up in Bolivia, and at the age of 17 playing soccer for the famed Tahuichi Soccer Academy, he left for the U.S. as a foreign exchange student. Saying a a Miami Sentinel article in 1999 that the move was necessary. Where at St. Benedict's Prep in New Jersey while trying to overcome a language barrier, Rocha helped it's soccer program go 20-0-1 while earning the State Prep Championship with 19 goals and 17 assists..That caught the attention of Joe Morrone and the UConn Coaching Staff, and Rocha signed a letter of intent to join the Huskies...Starting immediately in the midfield as UConn looked to get back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1989.

Rocha played 77 games for the Huskies in his four years, starting all 77...in 1995, the Huskies went 7-11-2 as Rocha scored three times and added 6 assists. A season later in 1996, 6 goals and a team high 16 assists and a first team All New England Selection where in Joe Morrone's Final Year the Huskies went 15-3-3 and finished second in the Big East. However UConn lost in the Big East Final to Notre Dame and the Huskies were denied an NCAA Tournament spot that ended Coach Morrone's Phenomenal Career.

As the Ray Reid era began, the Huskies were in transition. UConn took a step back at 11-7-2...But Rocha was a first team All Big East Selection continuing to control the midfield area....The corner began to turn in Rocha's senior year of 1998, as he and Bobby Rhine led the way to a 17-4 season and a regular season Big East Title. Rocha scoring 13 goals and equaling his sophomore total of 16 assists. Of the 13 goals, Rocha recorded a hat trick against Long Island University in early October. It again earned Rocha First Team All Big East and was named the Big East Offensive Player of the Year as the Huskies made the NCAA's...Unfortunately, it lasted one game...a 1-0 home loss to Penn State, but it planted the seed for what was to come for the program two years later in 2000.

Rocha and Rhine both earned first team All American Honors while Rocha, in the closest vote in the history of The Hermann Trophy, Rocha was the runner up as National Player of the Year...In 77 games at UConn, Maurizio Rocha racked up 105 points...one of 8 UConn players in the 100 point club. His 51 assists remain #2 behind Pedro DeBrito..In 1998, Rocha played in the Division One Senior All Star Game, was named a UConn Club Outstanding Senior Athlete, and twice, was named as the Team's Squires Award winner as the Consummate Team Player in 1997 and 1998. Rocha played two seasons for the Miami Fusion of MLS before his career ended.

A Bolivian who came to America and made something of himself...A top notch Soccer Player, a fine student and an All American....Not to mention a UConn Legend

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