By Michael Lewis
Armando Betancourt, a three-time All-American at Indiana University who played at the 1982 World Cup, passed away Wednesday.
The former Honduran international was 63.
Soccer America editor Paul Kennedy reported on Twitter that Betancourt had died from COVID-19 complications in San Pedro Sula, Honduras.
Sad news out of San Pedro Sula: @IndianaMSOC great Armando Betancourt died at age of 63 (COVID-related according to Honduran press). He was SA’s Player of 1980s — height of college game — and on our All-Century team. He played on Honduras 1982 WC team, for Strasbourg & indoors.
— Paul Kennedy (@pkedit) July 29, 2021
“We lost an IU legend today,” Indiana head coach Todd Yeagley said on the university’s website. “Armando was a wonderful player with attacking gifts very few players possess.
“He helped IU soccer become a national power and then went on to represent Honduras in the 1982 World Cup. He is one of the all-time greats to wear the IU jersey and a legendary player for Honduras.
“His gifts on the field were special, yet his wonderful personality, incredible smile, humility and compassion for others made him a superstar. For everyone who knew Armando, we all have a heavy heart today but feel so lucky to have called him a friend.”
Betancourt was named Soccer America’s Player of the Decade for the 1980s and earned All-America honors during all three of his seasons at IU.
He was a force to be reckoned with, winning the Hermann Trophy in 1981 while securing first-team All-America honors for the second time. Betancourt finished with a career-high 27 goals that season, the second most by an IU player, while recording a school-record 63 points on the strength of nine assists.
Nicknamed, “El Cañón,” Betancourt was one of three Hoosiers (Angelo DiBernardo, Ken Snow) named to Soccer America’s All-Century team in 2000. Betancourt was elected to the IU Hall of Fame in 1992, joining five other Indiana men’s soccer players in the Hall.
After graduating from IU, Betancourt performed for Marathon and Real Espana in Honduras before competing two seasons for Strabourg in France.
Betancourt played with the St. Louis Steamers in the Major Indoor Soccer League in 1984-85, scoring 16 goals in 42 games. He added five goals in 48 appearances for the Kansas City Comets during the 1987-88 campaign.
He also made nine appearances for the Honduran national team from 1982-85, scoring five goals, while helping the team reach the 1982 World Cup. Betancourt played in all three group stage matches at Spain ’82.