McSharry Brings International Perspective

Meghan Nichols

Off the field, you’ll likely find the new women’s soccer coach Sinead McSharry getting a “Mint Condition” coffee at the Brewer Bookstore. She will be fairly easy to spot, too, with her English accent, long curly red hair, and elaborate tattoos on both arms. Although a new arrival to St. Lawrence, her coaching philosophy, upbeat attitude, and overall willing-ness to help colleagues and athletes have her fitting in as if she’s been here for years.

In January, McSharry became the fifth head coach in St. Lawrence women’s soccer history. Before coming to the United States, McSharry, who is of Irish descent, gained soccer experience through international competition both as a player, playing professionally for the Southeast London’s Millwall Lionesses FC in the National Premier League, and as a coach, including a stint as a lead coach for Manchester United FC in Manchester, England. 

She served as a lead soccer coach at Manchester United FC from 2010 to 2014, where she was one of 20 staff members chosen to attend the Manchester United Premier Cup in Shanghai, China.

“It’s the top-20 teams in the world all at one venue,” says McSharry, “and you’re just sitting there pinching yourself watching soccer at its highest possible level.”

Prior to working with Manchester United, she was given the opportunity to coach at England’s U15 Girls Talent ID camp, where she was able to see how much more the game had developed on the women’s side. While there, she helped identify England’s next U15 team with tryouts all over the country.

McSharry has also experienced the more humble side of soccer after traveling through Africa and India.

“If you ride down the road, you can see the kids playing barefoot in the street with tennis balls,” she says. “That’s the beautiful thing about this game: It brings a lot of different environments together, and that street element of the game is something that I definitely miss.”

Her travels inspired her involvement in different organizations, including volunteering for Soccer Without Borders, an organization that works to provide inner-city kids with opportunities to learn the game of soccer. 

“It’s been great to have been a part of those international experiences, and they are something I strive for,” says McSharry. “It’s the same reason I want my players to go abroad and have different experiences outside of their comfort zone and see that there are different passions for the game all over the world. I got to see the whole spectrum, and it’s a fascinating experience.”

Prior to joining the Saints, she spent five years as the assistant women’s soccer coach, recruiting coordinator, and strength and conditioning coach at Hamilton College.

“When I first came to the U.S., I thought about professional soccer and Division I coaching,” McSharry says. “But Division III sucked me in, and I think philosophically I’m more aligned with the D-III mentality. I wanted to coach and be around players more.”

McSharry knows that fostering well-rounded experienced players both on and off the field is what will inform a student-athlete’s success. “There is just something about the school and the community that opens up its arms and bring you in,” for both players and coaches, she says. “Everyone wants to see you do well and will help where they can to support you.”

Sinead McSharry, St. Lawrence women's soccer coach with players