Tuesday, November 1, 2022

The Soccer Life - Robyn McCarthy

Photo Credit: Robbie Mehling for SocTakes
Robyn McCarthy becomes just the fourth woman to participate in this series, but I'm trying to change that. She follows Gwendolyn Oxenham (author, and where the name of this blog originated); Tammy Haley (one of my coaches from Ben Davis High School); and current BYB President Katherine Reed. Each woman is distinct in their own way, and each is making their mark on soccer; three of whom made or are making that mark in Indianapolis. I had the pleasure of interviewing and talking to Robyn during the inaugural USL W-League season, and then again after the season following an Indy Eleven men's game because she has decided, at least for now, to stay in Indianapolis. I still hope that she finds a professional team (maybe that will be here...) and is able to terrorize opposing teams' forwards with her defending for a living. Until that happens, Indy gets to know that we made enough of an impression on yet another player to keep them hanging around here for a bit. 

Without further ado, here is Robyn McCarthy telling you about her Soccer Life.

1. Name:
- Robyn McCarthy

2. Role (Player, Parent, Coach, Referee, General Spectator, All of the Above, None of the Above, Other):
- Player, Coach, Referee
(Editor's note: Robyn indicates she did some refereeing and some coaching a little bit later, and I know she's a spectator...  We'll chalk it up to a few too many defensive headers...)

3. Soccer-specific Nickname (and any story behind it):
- “Omaha” - Related to having a very long throw in. Started in high school soccer.
That feels like a Peyton Manning reference. For a site dedicated to Indy sports, Robyn knows how to further endear herself to the fans. šŸ˜€

4. Age started playing:
- 3 years old. Started playing with my older sister while having my dad coach us at a young age. Having a very big soccer family where everyone played soccer, it was easy to want to love playing it. 
Robyn has four siblings and nearly all of them played soccer at a high level; Timmy (went into the Army), Rebekah (played for BYU-Hawaii before transferring to Grambling State University), Rachel (we all know Rachel as she played with Robyn for Indy Eleven and is currently back at BYU), and Tyler (yet to graduate high school, but has committed to play in college).

5. First recollection of the game:
- Playing recreational soccer with my dad being the coach.

6. Highest level of play achieved:
- Pre-Professional 
(Indy Eleven USL W-League)

7. Last competitive match – Date (if known) & Level of Play:
- Indy Eleven vs Minnesota (First round playoffs USL W-League)
By my records, Robyn was one of just 3 Indy Eleven players to play in every single game in the inaugural season (Rogers and Williams were the others), one of 4 Indy Eleven players to start 12 of the 13 games (Bahr, Rogers, and Williams were the others), and was the team's leader in minutes, outpacing Rogers. 

8. Position:
- Center Back or Right/Left Back

9. Jersey number:
  • Indy Eleven
    • #23 
  • Fresno State
    • #22
10. Most memorable moment(s):
Robyn & Rachel after Rachel's last game
with Indy Eleven (vs Kalamazoo)
Photo Credit: Matt Edwards
- Getting to play with both of my sisters in high school and my younger sister at a pre-professional level
- First [Conference] Championship for the first season of USL W-League

11. Least memorable moment(s):
- Losing first round of USL W-League playoffs by a PK

12. Favorite team:

13. Favorite player:

14. Indoor vs Outdoor:
- Outdoor 

15. Grass vs Turf:
- Grass

16. Coaching experience:
  • 2011-2017 - Ajax East Bay Assistant Coach
  • 2020 - Cencal Cosmos Assistant Coach
  • 2022 - Fresno State Volunteer Assistant Coach
17. Refereeing experience:
- 5 years in California

18. Favorite World Cup moment(s):
- Carli Lloyd scoring from half field

19. Honors/Awards:
  • Indy Eleven 
    • W-League First Team of the Year (2022)
  • D1 College
    • Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year (2021)
    • All-Pacific Region Team (2021)
    • MW First Team of the Year (2020, 2021)
Robyn also won two North Coast Section Division I championships with Liberty High School in California. 

20. Other sports played (and to what level):
- Track - Hurdles (High school) 

21. Other Comments:

I found an article about Robyn that was interesting part of her (soccer) life story and wanted to share an excerpt of it here:
Leading up to her freshman year of college, McCarthy’s biological family decided to relocate to Utah. McCarthy — a talented soccer player out of Liberty High School in Brentwood— was gearing up to start her collegiate career at Fresno State. 

Instead of her family just two and a half hours away, they were now a couple of states over. While McCarthy remains very close with her family, she depended on the help of her friends when it came to living arrangements, but there wasn’t always a guaranteed place for her to stay.

That’s when Karla and her husband, Jorge VillaseƱor, stepped in. Along with their children, Jorge Jr., 15, and Eliana, 10, the VillaseƱors opened their door for McCarthy to stay with them whenever she needed.

The family said it was an easy decision to make.

“She really needed the stability of a home,” Karla VillaseƱor said. “This is her home. If she needed to come home for the weekend or take some time off, she was more than welcome to. I’m glad she took us up on that.”

McCarthy said she felt comfortable and relieved knowing she had somewhere to stay.

“It was hard, because I didn’t want to go back to Brentwood often…I didn’t want to be a burden,” McCarthy said. “It was such a relief when they said I could stay with them.


Having McCarthy in the family has been described as a blessing by Karla VillaseƱor, as she said she went through a rough phase of depression over a year ago, struggling to get out of bed and live life. But knowing McCarthy was coming over kept her spirit up because of the positivity she always brings with her.

“She’s just such a good-hearted happy person,” Karla VillaseƱor said. “She’s never mad or upset. She’s just one joyful human being that always finds the good in everything.”

McCarthy said her relationship with the VillaseƱor family has provided her with fond memories and life lessons she’ll forever hold on to, but there will always be one that she finds the most valuable.

“Family doesn’t always have to be about blood,” McCarthy said.  

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