Kim Wyant: “It has never escaped me that I am a woman who trains a men’s team and the only one who is doing it right now, and I am always proud of that fact. And of course I’m just proud and very excited to be going to the NCAA tournament. “(FrontRowSoccer.com Photo)
This story was originally published on this website on November 18, 2018
By Michael Lewis
She didn’t take the job to make history or was not a pioneer for the second time in her football career.
Kim Wyant moved into the limelight again by leading New York University men’s soccer into the NCAA Division III men’s soccer tournament.
Wyant, the goalkeeper for the US women’s team’s first game in 1985, is one of the few women to coach men’s college teams. There’s no official list of how many women have coached men’s soccer teams in Divisions I, II, and III, but it’s certainly pretty high. The Garden City, NY-based woman is believed to be the first woman to lead a team into the NCAA postseason.
The Violets (12-4-1), who qualified for the Division III tournament for the first time since 2010, will face Haverford College on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in Montclair, New Jersey
Wyant, 54, downplayed her 2015 milestone.
Unsurprisingly, she downplayed her recent accomplishment.
“Well, I always want to focus on where it should be – the team and the players because they are the ones who put the work into giving the team the results we needed to get to where we are, “she said in an interview earlier this week. “But of course I’m the leader of this team. We all deserve recognition.
“It has never escaped me that I am a woman who trains a men’s team and the only one who is doing it right now, and I am always proud of that fact. And of course I’m just proud and very excited to be going to the NCAA tournament. “
Wyant has previously played in the NCAA – with the University of Central Florida and played in a Division I championship game. She also coached the New York Athletic Club for the 2014 US Open Cup Women’s Championship and stopped the Long Island Lady Riders to W League titles in 1995 and 1997.
“So here again I’m in a familiar situation,” she said. “It’s just very exciting to get to a point where you have a chance to win a championship.”
Wyant pioneered the goal for the US women’s national team when the Americans lost to Italy on August 18, 1985.
And here Wyant is making history again.
“I carry this burden happily and I don’t really feel that it is a burden,” she said. “But obviously it still makes people stop and think, ‘Oh, wait, this is a woman who trains a men’s team.’ It hasn’t reached the point where it’s normalized in our society. Now I suppose getting into the NCAA tournament and hopefully a deep run will also make people stop and think a little more. If it does Opening more doors to women, I’m very proud of it. But as you know, that’s not my mission. It’s not easy to train. It is not easy to win. It is not easy to get to these moments. Coaching is difficult It is hard and demanding. It is exhausting at times and it is true if you are a man coaching a male team, or a male coaching a female team, or a woman coaching a female team, or in in my case a woman who trains a male team. “
When Wyant took over as coach in September 2015, the violets were in a crisis. Only one game a season, longtime head coach Joe Behan due to a family illness. Behan had directed the violets for 19 years. The NYU sports division was looking for a replacement, and Wyant was named boss just days before the NYU home opening game.
In 2015, the freshman’s defender Niko Patrik felt like things were going to go together.
“I just heard her track record and it was impressive so … she knows her football,” he said at the time. “It’s just about building a bond with her as a team. It will take a little time, but it will come. “
Three years later it was more the same and a lot more.
“No matter who it was, it would be a shock because it’s a pretty intense experience when you’re playing a game and suddenly you have to get used to a whole new staff and game system.” Patrik said after a 3-0 win outside the conference at Brooklyn College earlier this season. “But I think she came in with a great attitude and that calmed us down at the same time, and from that point on we just kept evolving as a team. We’re now at a time when we can ponder that experience, see how far we’ve come and that puts another chip on our shoulder to win this game and win more games this season. “
Patrik said he was most impressed with Wyant’s “willingness to rise to the challenge”.
“I think all team-mates saw that and we were on board,” he added. “So she won us over very quickly, and I think that helped us particularly with the transition.”
Newbie defender Pablo Vargas of Weston, Fla. Saw no difference in being recruited by a woman to a college men’s college team last year.
“That wasn’t a problem,” he said. “She was one of the most professional people I have met. I looked 100 percent about it. There was nothing there. “
There has been a lot there this season. What the violets have accomplished in the past three months has put their season in a different orbit.
“I think it’s special because of the history I have with the guys that I inherited when they were newbies and now they’re seniors,” said Wyant. “I saw them go through this program, come in as a freshman, and this dramatic event happened where the coach they recruited suddenly leaves a game during the season. As a freshman, you are already wondering what will happen in your college career. Now you have this very dramatic event that is happening.
“All of a sudden you get this new coach who is in a very messy situation. And we went through this drama together. We created this program together. They were very focused when they got into their senior year on what they wanted to do and what legacy they wanted to leave behind. I think that’s what I feel most emotional about and I’m very excited for this group of seniors because they’ve been through a lot. They hung out there with me. They are committed to the process and the program and can now get started in their final year at the NCAA tournament. “