Connecticut Soccer Hall of Fame inducts six new members
Photo Credit: Kasey Matson Photography
The Connecticut Soccer Hall of Fame inducted six new members for the class of 2020.
This six-member class of 2020 joins the 169 members inducted since the CSHF was founded in 1999:
Charles McSpiritt UConn team captain for 1981 National Champions; Daniel Rooney CSSA President and long-time CT soccer player; Melissa Morrone Taintor E.O. Smith and UConn All American; Luis Omar Tapia International Soccer Broadcaster; Goran Vasic MISL Champion & Middletown Youth Soccer Director; Allan Wilson Univ of Hartford Men’s Soccer Coach, 1971-1987
Charlie McSpiritt was an outstanding player and leader for the UConn Huskies during their glory days (1977, 79-81). He captained the 1981 team to their first NCAA title (20-3-2) and played on the 1980 team that was top-ranked most of the year (21-2-1). He earned 1981 NSCAA All New England/Northeast Team & NEISL All Star Team recognition. In 1982 McSpiritt was presented the Dr. John Squires Award that is given by teammates to “the consummate team player on the basis of competitiveness, high work ethic, positive attitude and loyalty to the program”. He was UConn’s outstanding senior athlete in 1982. Prior to UConn, McSpiritt captained Verona HS, New Jersey, to the state championship in 1976 and earned All-State and NSCAA All America that year.
After graduation, McSpiritt was the Assistant Men’s Soccer Coach at Bowling Green State University (1984-87) and Webutuck HS, NY, Boys Soccer Coach (1987-92). He earned New York State’s Section One Boys Soccer Coach of the Year award in 1990. McSpiritt became Athletic Director at Torrington HS, CT, in 1993 and is currently an Assistant Principal there.
Dan Rooney has been a long-time soccer player, referee and administrator in Connecticut. Rooney’s commitment to playing, organizing, and managing Glastonbury Celtic Soccer Club led to his involvement in league and association functioning. From 1988-2006, he served on boards of the Connecticut Soccer League (CSL) and Shoreline Adult Soccer League (SASL) and their governing body, the Connecticut State Soccer Association (CSSA). In 2007 he became president of CSSA and continues to serve in that capacity.
Rooney is a certified USSF coach and referee and National Federation of High School certified referee. He has been an assistant coach and goalkeeper coach for m Glastonbury Hartwell SC since 2009.
Melissa Morrone Taintor
Melissa Morrone Taintor was an outstanding soccer player at E.O. Smith High School (1978-81) and the University of Connecticut (1982-85). At EOS she won 4 state championships without losing a game, was named All-State each year and All-American her senior year. As a Husky, Taintor made three NCAA Final Four appearances in 4 years, was named All-New England 3 times, All-American her senior year, and earned the UConn Club Outstanding Senior Athlete Award.
Taintor has served as a USSF referee (2005-2012) and National Federation of State High School’s referee (2007 – present), and was the first female president of the Eastern Connecticut Soccer Officials Association (2013-15).
Luis Omar Tapia
Luis Omar Tapia is an accomplished soccer broadcaster who began his career at Telemundo’s Channel 13 in Hartford. He joined ESPN in 1991 and began broadcasting Champions League, Spanish League, Serie A, Dutch football, European and South American qualifiers.
Over his career Tapia has broadcast seven FIFA World Cups, 16 MLS seasons, 4 Copa Americas, 4 European Cups, and 10 CONCACAF, CONMEBOL, and European World Cup qualifying tournaments. He is a two-time Emmy Award nominee (2017, 2019). Tapia is the founder of the 90 Minutes Foundation, a non-profit organization that helps families and youngsters with limited resources participate in education and sports.
Goran Vasic started the Goran Vasic Soccer Academy in Connecticut in 2006. He went on to become Middletown’s Youth Soccer Director of Coaching (2010 – present) and the Executive Director of Sporting CT soccer club.
Prior to his time in Connecticut, Vasic played youth soccer for Yugoslavia’s premier club, Red Star Belgrade (1980-89) and professional soccer in Serbia for multiple clubs (1993-97). He came to the U.S. and won the 1997 Continental Indoor Soccer League Rookie of the Year Award with the Houston Hotshots. He also played for the Cleveland Crunch (NPSL 1998-2001, NPSL All Star 2000-01), Pittsburgh Riverhounds (USL A-League, 1999-2000), and the Philadelphia Kickers (MISL 2001-06, MISL Champion 2001-02). He was player/coach for the MISL’s New Jersey Ironmen 2007-09.
Allan S. Wilson
Allan Wilson was the University of Hartford’s Men’s soccer coach from 1971-1987 where he compiled a 174-73-22 record. He led the Hawks to 7 NCAA tournament appearances and won the ECAC tournament in 1979. His teams earned 2 Sampson Team Trophy’s for the best team in New England. Wilson was named New England Coach of the Year in 1979 and 1984. Wilson owned and operated Soccer USA camps for youth age 10 to 15 (1973-1983) and offered free soccer clinics to youth in the greater Hartford area from 1971-1980. He served as head soccer coach at Ricker College in Houlton, Maine for two years (1969-70) and earned two NAIA regional berths and two conference championships while registering a 37-7 record.
Wilson played college soccer at Springfield College and youth soccer at North Yarmouth Academy in Yarmouth, Maine. He is currently a board member for the University of Hartford Soccer Excellence Fund.