WESTPORT, Conn. -- A Westport man who works in finance in Stamford has pledged an additional $5 million to transform the soccer complex and build a brand new state-of-the-art soccer stadium on the Storrs campus of the University of Connecticut.
Tony Rizza, a former UConn men’s soccer student-athlete and a member of the Class of 1987, has now pledged a total of $8 million, UConn announced on its website.
The new facility will be built on the site of the current Joseph J. Morrone Stadium and will bear the same name. The overall soccer complex, which will include the new stadium as well as the existing training grounds and practice field adjacent to the stadium, will be named the Rizza Family Soccer Complex.
Rizza’s new pledge is for $5 million to match donations for the facility. Two years ago, he gave $3 million for the project. Combined, these two gifts make him the single largest donor in the history of the UConn Division of Athletics.
“This gift is my way of recognizing coaches, faculty, and campus staff who helped me while I was at UConn, and it’s a small way of saying thank you,” says Rizza, who is senior managing director of Columbus Circle Investors Inc., a Stamford investment advisory firm with $16.6 billion in assets and 65 employees
Current UConn men’s soccer head coach Ray Reid was the first donor to support Rizza’s match with his own gift of $100,000.
Rizza played for the Huskies from 1983 to 1986, and started 59 games as a back. He played in three NCAA tournaments, and was part of two Big East Conference championship squads. Rizza was the winner of UConn’s Eric S. Lund Award as a sophomore, given to the team’s most improved player.
“My experience at UConn and, more specifically, with the men’s soccer program provided me with important life skills that have helped me succeed in my career,” says Rizza. “To be a successful student-athlete at a high level like UConn’s, one must be disciplined, dedicated, motivated, and focused on achieving goals. I learned this during my four years playing soccer in Storrs, and I have used it in my professional life every day since the day I graduated.
“I look forward to seeing my gift help UConn build a world-class soccer complex that will keep both the men’s and women’s soccer programs in their spots among the premier soccer programs in America.”
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