By Kane McGuire
Fall practice is two months away
2014-15 saw many team and individual success stories
Ireland defeats Haiti, 1-0
Rubalcava becomes eighth signee
Brittany Beddow scores golden goal in the first overtime period to clinch a spot in the C-USA Tournament for LA Tech
Down 1-0 at halftime, LA Tech scored two second half goals to complete the comeback over Marshall.
Goals by Donya Salomon-Ali and Katie Sloan propelled LA Tech to the first C-USA win of the year, a 2-1 victory over UAB
Five Techsters scored in the 7-0 shutout win
Four Lady Techsters scored their first career goal in the 8-0 win over the Lady Wildcats
Kevin Sherry begins his ninth season as head coach of the Lady Techsters and his 15th overall in Division I college coaching, coming off what was arguably the greatest season in the 10-year history of LA Tech soccer.
Having been picked preseason to finish 12th (out of 14) and starting out conference play with three straight losses, a roster with just two seniors showed plenty of passion and fearlessness – two of the four pillars of the program -- by going 5-1-1 the rest of the way.
A dog pile rightfully ensued on the field of the Lady Techster Soccer Complex after the golden goal was scored in the regular season finale to clinch the team’s first ever spot in the Conference USA Tournament.
Another first for the program and another dog pile occurred in the tournament with LA Tech claiming its first-ever postseason victory, an upset of the No. 3 seed UTEP on penalty kicks to reach the semifinals.
The unforgettable season finished at 13-6-3 with two all-conference selections and one all-tournament member. The awards did not stop there as Sherry was named the Louisiana Coach of the Year for a second time in his career and for a second time one his players was chosen as the Louisiana Player of the Year.
The celebrations were a culmination of the hard work and determination which carried over from year one in C-USA, a season which produced a solid 9-10-1 record despite having a roster of 18 freshmen, and the final year in the Western Athletic Conference in 2012 when the squad went 12-5-4 which included an 11-game unbeaten streak and a 1-1 tie with No. 19 ranked Denver.
That story was much like this past season as the team was picked in the preseason to finish last but responded with a fourth-place finish in the WAC, setting school records by allowing only 15 goals and recording 12 shutouts along the way. For that year as well Sherry was named the LSWA Coach of the Year.
Of course the passion has not only been seen on the soccer field, but in the classrooms as well. Since the native of Grantham, England arrived in Ruston, Tech has consistently been recognized for its excellence in education as they were awarded the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA)/Adidas Team Academic Award for seven consecutive school years. The award recognizes teams that have a cumulative grade point average of 3.00 or better.
Most recently, 24 of the soccer student-athletes were recognized by C-USA and were named to the Commissioner's Honor Roll for the 2014-15 academic year, maintaining a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better. Of those 24, seven also received the C-USA Commissioner's Academic Medal, given to those who achieved a cumulative GPA of 3.75 or better.
The third pillar – respect -- has been acknowledged through their sportsmanship as the team has been awarded multiple times with the NSCAA Ethics/Sportsmanship Award, including this past season. The award recognizes teams with less than five yellow cards throughout the season.
The biggest impact of the program most often comes from the fourth pillar - Service. Community service has been demonstrated year-round in Sherry's eight years as head coach. At the inaugural Techspys, the soccer team took home the SAAC award for the team that best represents the commitment to promoting a positive image in the community.
In 2010, Sherry's Lady Techsters finished with a record of 15-6 overall and 5-3 in the WAC, both school records. After being picked last in the conference preseason polls, LA Tech finished tied for third.
Also for the first time ever, the Lady Techsters placed individuals on the all-conference team and qualified for the WAC Tournament which was held at the Lady Techster Soccer Complex. In a season with so many great accomplishments, Sherry recorded a personal one of his own. With an 8-0 win over Grambling State on Sept. 1, 2010, Sherry won the 100th game of his NCAA coaching career.
In 2009, after winning their first 11 games, Sherry led Tech to a 12-7-1 record, including the program's first-ever league win. Tech scored the most goals (54), assists (45) and points (153) ever in a single season.
In 2008, the Techsters were recognized for their significant improvement from their 2007 campaign when they went 2-14-1. Sherry and Co. posted a 10-5-5 record, an eight game improvement that the NCAA recognized along with three other schools, as one of the most improved teams in the nation. They also established a new shutouts record with 10 as they held their opponents scoreless in nine of their 10 wins.
Shortly after the conclusion of the 2008 season, Sherry was selected to serve as U.S. Youth Olympic Development coach. Sherry was given the responsibility of coaching the Louisiana U-16 team and was also selected to instruct a coaching clinic for all high school coaches in the state of Louisiana.
Sherry spent two years as head coach at Western Illinois. He inherited a program that was 24-111-7 over its history, including a 3-12-3 mark, the year prior to his arrival. Between the 2005 and 2006 seasons, he compiled a 20-13-4 record, and the program was recognized as one of the NCAA's most improved. Before his arrival, the program had never experienced a winning season.
He led Western Illinois to its first Mid-Continent Championship finals in 2006. Even though the Westerwinds lost the conference championship, they finished with an 11-7-1 record. Their 11 wins were the most victories in a season in school history.
Sherry turned around another losing program as head women's soccer coach at Graceland University. Prior to his arrival, the Yellowjackets never had a winning season in its history. That changed as well. He coached Graceland to records of 12-7-1 and 16-2-3 before he led the team to an 18-0-5 record in his final season. Their success equated to the school's first undefeated season, the school's first-ever Heart of America Athletic Conference (HAAC) Championship, an appearance in the NAIA Final Four and its highest national ranking of seventh by the NSCAA.
For Sherry's efforts, he was named NSCAA Central Region NAIA Women's Coach of the Year.
While being head coach at Graceland, Sherry also served as head coach of the Des Moines Menace U-15 Boys Super Y League and worked with the Iowa Olympic Development program.
Sherry has international coaching experience as well as he was the head men's soccer coach at Nagoya Gakuin University and the Aichi F.C. Nagoya junior youth head coach in Japan prior to his four-year stint at Graceland. He also worked as the director of soccer coaching and player youth development for the Al Nahda national schools organization in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates from 1992-93.
Sherry got his first-ever head coaching job at Burlington Danes High School in London in 1987. During his five years at the institution, the school won the West London Area Cup at every age level and also won the prestigious London Championship two straight years. One of his former players, Danny Dichio, formerly played for the MLS club Toronto FC from 2007-09. Sherry also headed the West London Schools F.A. select teams from 1989-92. He served as the head coach for the U-16 select team from 1991-92 and the U-15 select team from 1989-90.
As a student-athlete, Sherry played for the West London Institute of Higher Education and won the British National College Championship in 1987. He was selected to play for the FISEC Great Britain U-18 team and went on to play for Bangor City in the United Kingdom and Morning Star in Hong Kong.
Sherry earned degrees in physical education/sports science and sociology from Bangor University in Wales, along with his master's from Leicester University in England. He possesses the United States Soccer Federation's "A" license and the U.E.F.A. "International" coaching license from England.