Ray Rocha, #17 • 1989 Red Raiders
Replica of Ray Rocha's #17 Jersey overlooking
Fred Green Memorial Field
#17 at the 2017 MIAA Superbowl
#17 at the 2019 MIAA Superbowl
Ray Rocha, a beloved member of the Red Raider family was tragically killed in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 at the World Trade Center. Ray was a tremendous person and, in his short 29 years, he left an indelible mark on friends, coaches, teammates, and community alike.
Ray was a stand-out student-athlete for the Red Raiders. He was a member of the National Honor Society, class of 1990 vice president, member of Students Against Drunk Driving, member of the Student Financial Board, and on the yearbook staff. He was also a formidable force on the football field, playing both ways, as Wide Receiver and Defensive Back for the Red Raiders. Tim Morris remembers Ray's spirit, talent, and values: "He was truly a pleasure to work with. I was fortunate enough to know the Rocha family and knew first hand the positive family atmosphere Ray grew up in and the strong set of values he possessed. He was an outstanding student-athlete with a tremendous work ethic. He always came to play with a great deal of intensity. Most of all, Ray demonstrated, both on and off the field, the positive values and behavior we all want our kids to have. Ray Rocha will continue to be a role model for our football players."
Ray continued to excel at the collegiate level. He attended Brown University with a focus on economics, played Wide Receiver for the Bears, and was a brother in the fraternal organization of Delta Tau until he graduated in 1994.
Shortly before the terrorist attacks, Ray began working as a bonds trader for Cantor Fitzgerald on the 105th floor of the World Trade Center's North Tower.
Ray's smile could light up a room and his friends fondly remember his sense of humor, kindness, determination and humble nature. "Ray set goals for himself at a young age and knew where he wanted to go in life" according to his childhood friend, Rob Piscitello. "He set a standard for his peers, and it made us all better, like a rising tide lifting all boats. And for all the gifts he had in life, he was always kind, never took it for granted, or let it go to his head."
Ray's #17 Melrose jersey has been officially retired from Melrose football. In 2017, a replica of his jersey was hung on the new middle school overlooking Fred Green Field not only as a tribute to his memory but a reminder to all Melrose players to be committed students, positive role models in the community, and good stewards of the game.
In 2017 and 2019, following the Red Raiders' state championship wins, Ray's No. 17 jersey hung on the Wall of Champions at Gillette Stadium's Hall of Fame for a year- an honor earned only by the winning teams. Choosing Ray's jersey for the honor was an easy decision for Melrose and Coach Morris: Ray "is among many former Melrose players who set the foundation ... The glory is theirs but, to a man, these current players know that those before them paved the road to this title."
In 2002, the Rocha Family established the Ray Rocha Memorial Scholarship. Each year, through their generosity, a senior football player who is furthering their education and embodies the spirit and virtues that Ray displayed is selected to receive the scholarship.
Ray will never be forgotten.
Ray Rocha Memorial Scholarship:
Those who wish may send donations in Ray Rocha's memory to:
Ray Rocha Memorial Scholarship Fund
c/o Friends of Melrose Football
P.O. Box 1461
Melrose, MA 02176.