Kevin McCarthy begins his 20th season at the helm of the Columbia women's soccer team in 2013. Under his watch, the Lions have made their mark as one of the top teams in the Northeast region, and have established themselves as a force to be reckoned with in the Ivy League and beyond.
For the second straight season, the Lions won six games, finishing the 2012 season 6-9-1 overall and 2-4-1 in Ivy League action. Fans who came out to the Columbia Soccer Stadium early in the season were treated to a slew of wins, as Columbia captured victories in four of its first five games on its home turf, including a 1-0 shut out of Cornell.
Four Lions garnered All-Ivy League recognition, highlighted by senior defender Isabel King's first team selection. King was joined by junior forward Beverly Leon (second team), sophomore defender Catherine Troup (honorable mention) and sophomore goalkeeper Grace Redmon (honorable mention).
The 2011 season saw the Lions start the best home record since 2005 winning the first three games at Columbia Soccer Stadium. Columbia posted a 6-10-1, (3-3-1) Ivy League record for fourth place league finish.
Three Columbia women's soccer players were named to the All-Ivy League teams, including,senior Liz Wicks was a second team selection while classmates Lillian Klein and Ashlin Yahr gained honorable mention.
Wicks, an honorable mention All-Ivy honoree a year ago, had a strong season in the midfield for Columbia. Klein had an outstanding season in goal for Columbia, earning her second straight All-Ivy League honorable mention. Having made a number of highlight-reel saves during her career, Klein also garnered NSCAA Scholar All-East and CoSIDA Academic All-District awards during her tenure.
Yahr concluded a stellar career with her fourth straight All-Ivy League selection. Named Ivy League Player of the Week four times during her career, Yahr is Columbia's second leading goal scorer in a career. In the 2011 season, she finished with four goals and two assists and put home a pair of goals during a three-minute span in a 2-2 draw against Yale late in the Ivy League season.
For the third consecutive season, the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) honored Columbia for their outstanding scholastic achievements during the 2010-11 academic year. Columbia boasted one of 571 women soccer teams from around the country to earn the organization's Team Academic Award.
Teams across the country must post at least a 3.0 cumulative grade-point average on a 4.0 scale to receive this honor. McCarthy's women's soccer program posted a 3.36 grade point average.
In 2010, McCarthy guided a youthful bunch that boasted as many as five first-years in the starting lineup to a 9-5-3 record and a fourth-place finish in the Ivy League. Columbia allowed just 14 goals over 17 contests, two shy of the all-time single-season record set in 1998. The Lions also posted eight shutouts en route to their seventh straight season with a record of .500 or better.
For the second straight season, five different Columbia players were named All-Ivy League, led by forward Ashlin Yahr. Yahr was named to the All-Ivy League first team for the first time in her career, while Lauren Cooke garnered second-team status. Juniors Liz Wicks and Lillian Klein, and first-year Chelsea Ryan earned honorable mention honors.
In 2009, the Lions saw a senior class comprised of Sophie Reiser, Ashley Mistele, Meggie Ford and Christina Eckhardt graduate with the most Ivy League victories by a senior class in program history. Reiser was named first team All-Ivy League for the third straight season, while Mistele garnered second-team accolades and Ford honorable-mention honors. Reiser also became the first player in school history to be named to the CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America team and was drafted in the fifth round by the Chicago Red Stars of Women's Professional Soccer.
Off the field, McCarthy has been an integral component in establishing the women's soccer program as one of the premier sport programs at Columbia. In 2008-09, the women's soccer Lions won the school's first-ever Lions Cup, a competitive event for all Columbia University varsity sports programs that is a means by which student-athletes can compete on behalf of their teams for points in various categories.
The Lions finished second to women's basketball for the award in 2009-10, but did take home the Paul E. Fernandes Community Service Award, given to the varsity sports program achieving the most significant contributions and notable service to the University and local communities during an academic year.
In 2008, Columbia recorded 11 victories, tying for third-most in program history. The Lions received votes in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Top 25 poll twice during the year, marking the first time that the women's soccer team had been recognized amongst the nation's best.
Columbia strung together an eight-match unbeaten streak in the middle portion of its 2008 campaign, which included seven wins and a tie. It marked the second time in three seasons that the squad had accomplished the feat, with the first coming in 2006 as the Lions won seven straight games to close out the regular season in a memorable run to the Ivy League title.
McCarthy also saw his players garner unprecedented individual accolades in 2008, as Sophie Reiser '10CC became the first player in program history to be named an All-American. Reiser was a fourth-team selection by Soccer Buzz magazine, and also became the first player to be named a first team NSCAA Academic All-American. The standout earned the Ivy League Player of the Year award, becoming the second player McCarthy has coached to the honor (Shannon Munoz in 2007).
After winning Ivy League championships as a player and an assistant coach with the Columbia men’s soccer program, Kevin McCarthy brought an Ivy League title to the women’s soccer program in 2006.
Columbia went undefeated through the Ivy League slate in 2006, including a 2-0 win over then 13th-ranked Dartmouth that lifted Columbia into first place, where the Lions stayed. Columbia clinched the title with a thrilling 1-0 win at Harvard on Aubrey Medal’s goal in the 82nd minute, securing the program’s first-ever bid to the NCAA Tournament. For his efforts, McCarthy was named Northeast Region Coach of the Year by the NSCAA in November 2006.
The 2006 season saw McCarthy’s squad tie a program record with seven straight victories to end the season and tie a school record set in 1998 with 10 defensive shutouts in 18 games.
Record-setting is nothing new for McCarthy, who was a member of the 1983 Columbia soccer team which reached the national championship game. With experience on the field as a player and on the sidelines as an assistant coach for former men’s head coach Dieter Ficken, McCarthy possesses the ability to create and motivate winners. He is an artful combination of strategist and educator, and his players respond positively to his guidance.
During his tenure as a men’s assistant coach from 1988 to 1993, the Lions received four NCAA bids (1989, 1990, 1991 and 1993) and won the 1993 Ivy League championship.
During his playing career, from 1981 to 1984, Columbia captured four of its eight-straight Ivy League titles (1978 to 1985) and was a four-time NCAA Tournament participant. In 1983, he was a vital cog on Columbia’s greatest team. The Lions won their first 18 games before falling in the NCAA Championship final, 1-0, to Indiana in double-overtime. He earned first team All-Ivy League honors his senior year.
McCarthy boasts impressive experience in the athletic and academic development of young people. He taught English at the Horace Mann School and Archbishop Molloy High School and was a humanities professor at Ramapo College. He was the boys’ head soccer coach at Horace Mann, leading that team to the prep Ivy League championship. In addition, he has worked at a variety of clinics, serving as director of the Soccer Dynamics Girl’s Soccer Camp and also coaching in the Long Island Junior Soccer League and the Manhattan, Brooklyn and Bronx region’s World Youth Soccer Clinics.
He has worked with U.S. National Olympic team member Mia Hamm for City Soccer. McCarthy was the technical director for the program, which was designed to introduce inner-city girls to soccer. In 1996, he started the New York City Soccer Academy to further those efforts. Along with the NYC Soccer Academy, McCarthy also serves on the board of the Harlem Soccer Foundation and the West Side Soccer League.
A noted public speaker, the Columbia mentor was invited to talk to a Fordham M.B.A. class on peak performance and the core values of his Lion women’s soccer program this past summer. McCarthy was invited by the advertising agency Ogilvy and Mather to team with Scott Ventrella, the principal of the management consulting firm Positive Dynamics to present ideas about “Coaching for Performance” in the summer of 2007.
McCarthy earned his B.A. in history from Columbia in 1985, and received his master’s in American studies, also from Columbia, in 1990. He resides in Manhattan with his wife, Angela Tessinari, a Barnard graduate and Emmy-winning director of the ABC daytime drama, “All My Children”, and their sons, Luke (11) and Wyatt (8).