If you don’t know the name Dave McCarthy, ask the coaches of the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference women’s soccer program. His name is all too familiar to them. McCarthy has been named the 2010-11 South Coach of the Year.
“I’m certainly honoured because it’s voted on by my colleagues in our conference. So to receive an award voted on by the people I coach against is certainly an honour,” he said.
McCarthy is in his first season coaching the Red Deer College Queens soccer team. He helped them go undefeated this season. Not bad for a rookie coach, even if it wasn’t a total shock. “No one goes into a season trying to set a goal to be undefeated. We weren’t surprised by our results but our team did play better than expected at some points.”
On the ACAC Championship weekend, the undefeated Queens went one and two. Which may seem surprising to outsiders but the team was hurting physically and it finally took its toll.
But McCarthy says he’s proud of his players.
“The real unfortunate telling to the end of the season is the number of injuries our team picked up. And to push NAIT especially in the semi-final, all the way and to lose on a very unfortunate goal is nothing short of miraculous.”
Cut them some slack, for their last game the Queens only had two players on the bench and one of them was the backup goalie! That doesn’t give them a lot of options for subs, yet alone, different strategies. It comes down to who is not tired.
“Some years you get the luck with injuries, this wasn’t our year,” laments McCarthy. “At the conclusion of the (ACAC semi-final) game on Sunday, I said with time we’ll have an opportunity to reflect on what an incredible season it was.”
And time tells the story. With a team decimated by injuries the RDC Queens did something they had only ever done once in their history. They won a playoff game. “For them to at least win that quarter-final game bodes well for next year. And hopefully an opportunity for them to get that monkey off their back. And an opportunity to push on.”
Now the RDC Queens soccer team is a talented squad. You don’t go undefeated and have trouble tying up your cleats. But there’s always that feeling as a new coach that you don’t have all the players that you want. Or it’s not your team. Going into this offseason, McCarthy has the opportunity to build from a great place.
“By the time I was appointed I was never in a position to recruit players and bring players in.”
Which means McCarthy was coaching a team that wasn’t his. A team handed to him. Now he has the opportunity to add pieces to his current team that he personally approves. It’s like Transformers 2, when Optimus Prime gets all those cool parts from Old Jetfire, and he becomes this super-Transformer!
“As a coach I almost feel a little guilty receiving a personal award for something that comes down to the players themselves. And the players themselves are the ones that put the work in and get the results.”
Hmmm, humble like Optimus too. But I digress. Remember, Dave McCarthy is his name. Rookie coach of the RDC Queens soccer team. The ACAC South Coach of the Year, who’s looking to go from undefeated regular season team to ACAC championship team.
And judging from his recent accolades, the rest of the ACAC coaches may be thinking he can do it.