MERIDEN — Shortly after the soccer season ended this fall, Maloney coach Eoin McClure reached out to Maloney Athletic Director Bob McKee and said he needed to talk.
“When I got that message, I knew he was resigning,” McKee said. “I knew it might happen with his daughter graduating after this season. But Eoin did a great job with the program. He left it in a better place then he came in with.”
And that, in a nutshell, is the story. McClure has resigned as Maloney girls soccer coach after eight seasons, including one that ranks as the best ever in program history.
With Abby, the youngest of his three daughters, on course to graduate in the spring, McClure said now was a good time for him to step away.
His oldest daughter, Bailey, recently had her first child, Jackson Owen.
McClure’s middle daughter, Marley, was a sophomore at Maloney when he took up the reins in 2015.
He was supposedly just filling in temporarily for Cari Capodice, the head coach at the time. She was just expected to be on maternity leave for one year, but wound up not returning in 2016.
“One year turned into eight,” McClure said. “I was happy to be able to coach Maloney for eight years. I wanted to help create great memories for the girls.”
McClure came from both a playing and coaching background. A 1991 Platt grad, he was a senior captain on the 1990 Panthers’ state tournament soccer team.
McClure later coached for 13 years in the Meriden Soccer Club before taking over at Maloney in 2015. His Spartans went a combined 44-69-14, highlighted by the 2018 and 2021 seasons.
The 2018 team went 8-8-1 and earned Maloney’s first postseason bid in seven years.
The 2021 team had the best season in program history at 13-2-2 and entered the Class LL state tournament as the No. 2 seed.
That success pushed Maloney into a CCC Tier I schedule this fall, when the Spartans slipped to 6-8-2, but did earn another state tournament berth.
The placement in CCC Tier I for scheduling purposes was a sign of the progress Maloney made during McClure’s tenure.
Success did not come at the expense of players cut from the team after tryouts. McClure said he never made cuts. He wanted kids to have a place to go after school.
“I wanted to win, but creating memories was the the most important thing,” he said. “High school sports are such a big part of the four years of high school for kids.
“I also wanted our kids to be able to compete against the toughest teams in the state, and I think we were able to do that in the eight years I was there,” he added.
The seeds of McClure’s success, and those of his teams, were planted in Meriden Youth Soccer. Prior to coaching at Maloney, McClure had a stint as the youth league’s vice president.
“I knew these kids needed to start at a younger age, and that’s one of the reasons I got involved in Meriden Youth Soccer: so one day those teams could help the high school team,” McClure said.
He’s also is proud to have brought former soccer pro Rob Jachym, a city native, into the fold at Meriden Youth Soccer. Jachym works with the city’s U6, U8 and U10 players.
McClure is not completely stepping away from the game. He’s been a high school and college official since 1998. He refereed 12 boys high school and prep games this season and expects to take on more games next fall.
As for the Spartans, McClure said the team is returning a talented group that features four junior starters, including two All-CCC selections, and an athletic sophomore class.
“The future is bright for this program and I want to see the success for Maloney soccer to continue,” McClure said.
McKee said the job opening will be posted in the near future.
“Eoin is just an unbelievable person to work with and a true friend,” McKee added. “He always put his team in a position to succeed and, in the classroom, his teams always had one of the highest GPA’s.”
It could be that the soccer pitch has not seen the last of McClure.
“I loved coaching,” he said. “I’m definitely going to miss it. It’s the next chapter of my life. My oldest daughter had a baby and I’m not going to say I’m not going to coach ever again. I would help my daughter coach my grandson.”