The University of Connecticut won its first NCAA soccer title this month with considerable help from two players from the Washington, D.C., area.
Jim D'Orsaneo from Bowie High School scored in overtime of the final Dec. 6 to give Connecticut a 2-1 victory over Alabama A&M, a team with 13 foreign players. McLean alumnus Eric Myren, a midfielder, was named the tournament's most valuable player.
"Our winning the national championship says a lot about the talent in the Washington area," said Coach Joe Morrone, whose team is made up of American players and was 20-3-2 this season. "I view it potentially as the best region for youth soccer in the country. As an area, St. Louis still has an advantage, but Washington is a very close second. The area has given us three fine players."
Former Churchill midfielder Jim Kiernan, who was injured much of the season, did not play in the championship game.
D'Orsaneo, an all-Met forward in 1979, took a feed from Jim Lyman 4 minutes 56 seconds into the first overtime and headed the ball into the net. D'Orsaneo had five goals and three assists for Connecticut this season.
Myren, the only freshman to start for Morrone, had three goals and two assists, and usually guarded the opposition's top midfielder. ESPN television selected him as its national amateur player of the week for scoring two goals against St. Louis University.
"They really typify Connecticut soccer," said Morrone, who also recruits heavily in the New York area. "I was really impressed by their work rate and their consistency of performance, and those are things I stress as a coach. I run a very disciplined team, and they fit right in.
"I made a commitment when I came here 13 years ago to promote the growth of American soccer. I couldn't complain about the non-Americanization of teams like Clemson and San Francisco if I weren't entirely American."
For next season, Morrone has signed O'Connell striker Matt Addington, a three-time all-Met who scored 130 goals. Morrone scouted Addington when he was playing in the Westchester Classic Youth Tournament.
"I fell in love with the school when I went up there to visit, and I was really impressed by the coach," said Addington, who had received offers from a number of nationally ranked schools. "His knowledge of the game is obvious, and he showed a lot of interest in me."
Morrone, conceding that foreign-born players usually are more advanced in individual skills, said, "I'd be untruthful if I didn't say that (national semifinalists) Eastern Illinois, Philadelphia Textile and Alabama A&M weren't, man for man, more skillful than we were. We just couldn't match up one for one. But we play a good solid pressure defense, and our style makes it possible for us to function well as a team. Our strength was as a team."