Matt Gad – Sports Writer
The 1990 Owls men’s soccer team, coached by current Connecticut head men’s soccer coach Ray Reid, will be honored in June at the athletic department’s second consecutive Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
“The 1990s team was a special team,” Reid said. “We beat Boston College and Princeton. We dominated pretty good Division I teams.”
Reid won three national championships for the Southern men’s soccer program before Tom Lang took over the program in 1997. In total, the program has collected six titles on the national level, with the first one coming in 1987.
“We were gifted with some fantastic players. Ray DeFrancesco, Larry Fitzgerald, the chairman, and Michael Adanti, the president, provided us the resources to win,” Reid said. “And the fact that I went to school here makes [this honor] mean even more to me.”
In 1990, Lang was coaching at Fairleigh Dickinson University and had gotten his team into the Northeast Conference men’s soccer championship game, something he repeated just two years later. His career started with a head coaching gig at Hofstra in 1982.
“I knew of Southern from the soccer perspective and Ray being here but I also knew some of the other coaches and some players,” Lang said. “I’m familiar with them but was never able to really see them play. I’m looking forward to seeing them getting inducted into to the Hall of Fame.”
Reid is expecting two of his former players, now in Ethiopia and Germany, to attend the festivities. Additionally, recent Connecticut Soccer Hall of Fame inductee Bo Oshoniyi, the recently-named head men’s soccer coach at Dartmouth, a member of the 1990 team, is expected to be in attendance.
The Owls’ current roster includes six international players but back in the nineties international recruiting was already a prolific part of the team’s culture.
“He had a mixture; a few foreign players,” Lang said, referring to the roster make-up of Reid’s squads. “People are excited about coming. The guys on the team that he’s talked to are excited about coming.”
Reid said he “wants to thank” athletic director Jay Moran for “bringing [the Hall of Fame inductions] back.”
“He has the vision and the insight,” Reid said. “We’re honored to be a part of it. I can’t thank Jay, and the university, enough.”
Reid said he never thought about leaving Southern but was “flattered” to get the opportunity from the Huskies. He “always knew the potential at UConn.”
“I’m proud to be a Southern guy. Played there, went to school there. My roots are there and I’ll be a Southern guy until the day I die,” he said.
Tom Lang brought the current Owls to Storrs to face off against Reid’s program earlier this offseason. Both coaches keep a friendship and Reid believes Lang’s “got the program going in the right direction, with Jay’s support.”
Last year, the team went 11-4-4 and qualified for the NCAA Tournament after a 1-1 experience in the NE10 playoffs.
“Eventually, we’re hoping to win another national championship,” Lang said. “We’re encouraged and we’re excited about the potential that we have moving forward.”
Photo Credit: southernctowls.com