Rough Riders Profile: Kim Wyant
It would be hard to justify Kim Wyant’s impact on the sport of soccer, both men’s and women’s, as anything short of monumental.
Her illustrious career began in the heart of Florida back in 1982, where she backstopped a loaded University of Central Florida squad. Despite the Knights falling to the Tar Heels of North Carolina in the first ever NCAA National championship game, her name was spread across the map, as she was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player due to her fantastic play between the pipes.
In the 35 years since that moment, she has accomplished just about everything someone involved in soccer could ask for. She was a part of the first United States Women’s National team that played it’s inaugural match in 1985 against Italy, in which Wyant was the goalkeeper. She would go on to record the team’s first win and shutout against Canada in 1986. Her greatest success, however, arguably came with the Long Island Lady Riders.
After eight years with the national team, Wyant joined forces with the Lady Riders and found immediate success. Her quality positioning and incredible reflexes were instrumental in the Lady Riders run to two W-League national titles in three years (1995 and 1997). In her first five years, she collected four W-League Goalkeeper of the Year honors (1995-1998), two All-Star appearances, and even W-League MVP honors in 1997.
It’s hard to deny the success that she has had as a goalkeeper in her career. Not only do the various accolades back that up, but the statistics do as well. During her nine year tenure with the club, she racked up over 8,600 minutes of game time (most in Club history) in 99 caps (second in Club history).
She was named the Lady Riders General Manager after announcing she would be hanging up the boots in 2003. Under her watch, the Lady Riders would be named the W-League Organization of the Year on multiple occasions and was a huge part of implementing the various youth academies that the Rough Riders have today.
Have I mentioned she coaches a Men’s college soccer team?
In 2014, she was named the head coach of New York University, becoming the first woman to run a men’s collegiate soccer team. Although crossing over to the men’s side of the game may seem like a difficult adjustment, Wyant believes the adjustment isn’t as large as it’s played out to be. “There was little adjustment from coaching men vs women,” Wyant said.
“The men’s game is faster and the players are stronger which allows for some more options with tactics. Coaching is about relating to players, and identifying what each player needs to improve, developing the team, and developing game plans versus opponents. Whether the player is a male or a female has no impact on any of these areas of leading a futbol team.” Wyant, as indicated by her stunning resume, is all about taking on the challenges that face her in the sport of soccer. The NYU job presented her with an opportunity to take over a team already in the midst of their season (and a crisis) and help aid the recovery of the program, something which she has done an excellent job with thus far.
Other accomplishments include inductions in to various Hall of Fames, such as the Long Island Soccer Hall of Fame and the UCF Women’s Soccer Hall of Fame. She has achieved legend status in every aspect of the word, and we look forward to continue watching her make everyone’s jaws in the soccer world drop.
– Jackson Heil, Staff Writer