SAN ANTONIO — Messiah Falcons head coach Brad McCarty is part of an NCAA Division III dynasty.
In fact, McCarty made one more contribution to the storied program Saturday night, as the Falcons won their 10th NCAA Championship. Messiah fought its way past a battling Rutgers-Camden team in a 2-1 double-overtime match-up at Toyota Field.
The 2013 edition of the Falcons, who also won the title last year at San Antonio’s Blossom Soccer Stadium, completed the campaign with a 22-1-1 record.
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McCarty has been at the Falcons helm since 2009, and here is the breakdown: 2009, won the championship with a 2-0 victory against Calvin; 2010, won the championship with a 2-1 overtime nod versus Lynchburg; 2011, a bit off track, lost to Neumann 1-0 in overtime, second round; 2012, won the championship by a 5-1 score against Ohio Northern; 2013, edged Rutgers-Camden.
That’s four NCAA Championships in five seasons.
But, McCarty’s history with the Grantham, Pa., institution goes way back. He was a 1993 graduate of Messiah, and played for Layton Shoemaker.
McCarty earned NSCAA All-Region honors as a senior, and was a two-time First Team All-Middle Atlantic Conference member. In addition, McCarty was an Adidas First Team All-America Scholar-Athlete.
After stints of playing pro soccer and other coaching positions, McCarty served on the staff of Messiah coach Dave Brandt – now at the Naval Academy – from 2001 through 2008. The Falcons won five of their first six national championships during this era.
McCarty was on board for all but the first national title, which came in 2000.
So, what has been the secret of Messiah’s success over the years?
“Messiah has had a big impact on my life,” McCarty said. “All of my assistants are Messiah grads. I think what makes Messiah special is the team chemistry and culture. I love that Messiah is a Christian college, I love the campus, I love the athletic department, and the camaraderie we have. All the coaches have had an impact on me, and it’s very meaningful.
“When I think about this team, I think about no holes. This team is very similar to last year’s.”
Junior midfielder Brian Ramirez scored the opening goal for Messiah in the championship game against Rutgers-Camden. The Scarlet Raptors did record an equalizer, but Messiah junior midfielder Jeremy Payne scored the winning goal in the 104th minute.
Ramirez scored the opening goal, which turned out to be the game-winner, in the Falcons 4-0 shutout victory against Williams in the semifinals on Friday. He also picked up an assist in the game.
The talented Ramirez, a 2012 All-American, spoke of how their victories are team efforts. His thoughts mirror those of the head coach.
“We have guys who start, who push the guys on the bench,” said Ramirez, selected for the all-tournament team. “But, the guys on the bench also push the starters. Everybody is giving and taking, and holding each other accountable. We push each other to be our best. That’s what makes Messiah a special place. It’s not just one class or one group carrying the team. Everybody plays a part.”
With his two victories in San Antonio, McCarty now stands at 112-4-4 a winning percentage of nearly 95 percent. He was also named NSCAA Coach of the Year in 2009 and 2012.