Former Puerto Rico int’l Koziol passes away

Stan Koziol (right) celebrates with Mark Lugris, after Lugris scored the first goal of the 1994 World Cup Qualifying cycle on March 21, 1992, in a 2-1 win over the Dominican Republic. (Photo: Michael Lewis)

MIAMI -- Former Puerto Rico international Stan Koziol, who played professionally for eight years in the United States, passed away Monday after a short battle with leukemia.  He was 48.

Koziol appeared in four World Cup qualifiers, including the inaugural match for the 1994 World Cup, a 2-1 win over the Dominican Republic on March 21, 1992.  In fact, he was pictured celebrating with teammate Mark Lugris, who scored the very first goal of that game and qualifying cycle. 

Lugris was saddened by the death of his long-time friend and teammate, commenting that the photo "captured what he often describes as one of his happiest moments as a soccer player."

Koziol, a native of Clifton, New Jersey, was a graduate of Loyola University in Maryland, where he enjoyed a stellar career.  Also known as Stas, Koziol went on to play for the Baltimore Bays and Boston Bolts in the American Soccer League, before performing for the Central Jersey Riptide in now what is the United Soccer Leagues and for the Baltimore Blast in the Major Indoor Soccer League.

His indoor career also included stops with the Hershey Impact and Canton Invaders.