Seamus O’Connor has taken the Temple University women’s soccer program to great heights since taking over the reins six years ago. His teams recorded the program’s first-ever back-to-back 10-win seasons, and the 2016 Owls capped that brilliant run with a school-record 12-win campaign.
O'Connor took over the head coaching role in June, 2013, after spending two seasons as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for the Owls. In his first season at the helm, O’Connor led his young team to a six-win season which was one more victory than the previous campaign. The Owls won their first four games of the season for the best start ever in program history at the time.
The following season, in 2014, the program was lifted to new heights as O’Connor guided the Owls to an 11-8-1 record. It was the team's first season with 10+ wins since 2001 when the Owls went 11-9-0 under head coach Seamus McWilliams. The 2014 highlights included a seven-game win streak to start the season, which is still the longest in program history. Temple also recorded two more conference wins than in the previous year, and both Kelly Farrell and Shauni Kerkhoff were selected to the all-conference second-team.
In 2015, O’Connor maintained the standard of excellence for the program as the team finished with a record of 12-7-1, and a mark of 4-4-1 in the American Athletic Conference. Not only did the Owls finish with back-to-back 10-win seasons for the first time ever, but also finished .500 in conference play for the first time since 1995. The season ended with many memorable moments including a victory over La Salle for the first time in 13 years, and a win vs. Saint Joseph's for the first time in back-to-back seasons. The Owls also captured a 2-1 victory over then-conference leader Cincinnati and, for the first time in five tries, defeated SMU, 3-2. After being seeded sixth in the American Athletic Conference Tournament, the Owls fell to third-seeded UCF, 2-1. Seniors Kelly Farrell and Erin Lafferty were named to the All-American Athletic Conference Second Team.
In 2016 and 2017, O’Connor and the Owls struggled through rebuilding seasons. The team posted only three wins in 2016, improving to six in 2017, but was competitive throughout with 15 total losses coming by a single goal.
The 2018 campaign had some great highlights for the Owls. Temple notched two historic program. On Aug. 31, the team defeated Big Ten foe Maryland 1-0 at the Temple Sports Complex. This was the Owls' first ever win against a Big Ten opponent and first against the Terrapins since 1993. On Sept. 30, Temple earned their first win against USF in program history. The Owls shut out the No. 19 Bulls and scored the game-winner in double overtime to give them their first victory over a ranked opponent since 1995.
For the first time since 2015, the Temple women’s soccer team earned a berth to the American Athletic Conference Tournament in 2018. In the preseason poll, the Owls were picked to finish 10th in the conference. They ultimately secured the No. 6 seed and faced the No. 3 seed UCF in the AAC quarterfinals.
Two Owls earned AAC accolades for their outstanding performances in the 2018 regular season. Aisha Brown was named First Team All-Conference and Gabriela Johnson was selected to the All-Rookie team. Brown was the first player in program history to be named First Team All-Conference since 1999.
As an assistant coach under Matt Gwilliam, O’Connor helped mentor the team to five shutouts in his first season with the Owls, which was the most by a Temple team since 1995. In 2012, he helped coach the Owls’ defensive unit to even more success, as it surpassed the previous season’s mark by nailing down seven shutouts, which helped the Cherry and White to the eighth-best save percentage in the nation (.875). In the time he has spent with the Cherry and White, the program has demonstrated much success in the classroom and has earned six consecutive NSCAA Academic Awards.
Before arriving to Temple in 2011, O'Connor served in multiple capacities in the soccer programs at Chestnut Hill College, starting in 2007. He first coached the men's team before acting as Director of Soccer and coaching both teams for the 2008 and 2009 seasons. In 2010 he chose to exclusively coach the women's program. In his second season coaching the women, O'Connor led the Griffins to their first postseason appearance as member of the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) and National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II. He was recognized with the CACC Coach of the Year Award at season's end. In 2010 the team was ranked #8 in the NSCAA East Region and they qualified for a second postseason appearance in a row.
Under O'Connor, the Chestnut Hill College soccer programs has also flourished academically. The women's soccer team was recognized with the Chestnut Hill College Team Academic Achievement Award for posting the best collective GPA (2010-2011) and, during O'Connor's era, 16 Chestnut Hill College soccer players earned CACC All-Academic status.
Away from collegiate soccer, O'Connor has established himself as a talented coach at the professional level. In 2010 he completed a stint as head coach of the Philadelphia Liberty, a member of the Women's Premier Soccer League (WPSL). Prior to the Liberty he was also Head Coach of the CDSA Future and Assistant Coach of the AC Diablos, both members of the WPSL. In 2003, he led the Reading Rage of the United Soccer League/Premier Development League (USL/PDL) to an 8-8-2 record; the Rage's first .500 or better record in many seasons.
At the youth level, O’Connor helped in the development of Philadelphia Soccer Club's Coppa United into a top 35 team nationally ranked team. Coppa United was an Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer Association (EPYSA) State Cup finalist, a Jefferson Cup champion, and appeared in the Dallas Cup, Surf Cup, and Super Y League National Finals in addition to playing the Chinese Under 17 Men's National Team to a 1-1 draw. Currently he coaches with the ACP club based out of Atlantic County, N.J.
O'Connor graduated from Athlone Institute of Technology in Ireland in 1997 where he was the starting goalkeeper for three seasons. While in college, he trained with League of Ireland clubs Athlone Town and Longford Town. His soccer education includes a Football Association of Ireland (FAI) Coaching License, FAI Goalkeeping License, National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) National License, NSCAA Level 2 Goalkeeping License. O'Connor, a native of Galway, Ireland, resides in Blackwood, N.J., with his wife, Alexandra, son, Shay, and daughter, Annabridget.