As if coaching for 10 seasons and leading his team to a 0.603 winning percentage was not enough, women’s soccer Head Coach Jim O’Brien has just broken the program record for most number of wins as a coach. Ninety-seven wins later, he has now become one of the most illustrious coaches in the history of Fairfield women’s soccer.

The program record is just one of the many things O’Brien has accomplished while coaching the Stags. In the past 10 years, O’Brien has led his team to a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Championship, two berths in the National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament and has had multiple athletes receive numerous MAAC honors.

Experience with the game of soccer is one of the biggest reasons O’Brien has been successful as a coach. He played soccer throughout high school and then went on to attend Southern Connecticut State University, where he started successfully as a goalkeeper for the Owls, posting 17 shutouts during his two-year career with the team.

Not only was he an athlete at SCSU, but he also went on to develop the women’s soccer program with the school. As the first coach of the Division 2 program, O’Brien led the Owls to two NCAA tournament berths and the team went on to qualify for two different entrances into the Eastern College Athletic Conference tournament.

Coaching at Fairfield since 2005, O’Brien has constantly been improving the team. In 2008, he had an impeccable season with the Stags, leading them to victory at the MAAC Championship. He’s coached 43 different athletes who have received MAAC honors, including Ahna Johnson ‘08, one of the most accomplished athletes in the women’s soccer program.

After coaching his 300th collegiate game in 2011, O’Brien has certainly continued to improve his team. Despite all of his accomplishments that he has achieved with the team, he still remains humble.

“Good coaching staff, good support from the administration and good players have led me to this success,” said O’Brien.

This season under O’Brien, the Stags have already been extremely successful. The team is now headed into MAAC play posting zero losses in non-conference play. According to, the team is off to their best start since 2008, the year that the team captured a MAAC Championship. Currently, the team holds a win streak of 17 games at home at Lessing Field and headed into MAAC play, O’Brien holds the same goals for the team that he set when he began as a coach 10 seasons ago.

“We want to win lots of MAAC Championships and go to the NCAA Tournament and be successful in that tournament,” said O’Brien.

Although O’Brien may be modest, the women’s soccer team couldn’t be happier with the honor that he has received for the record number of wins.

“He’s been so successful because of his attitude when he comes out to the field,” said Captain Michelle Kowalski ‘15. “He always engages each player so when we come out to practice, we come out wanting to compete and earn our spot on the team. When you have competition, it leads to success on the field.”

On and off the field, O’Brien has made sure that his team is not only working hard, but also enjoying their time on the team. Just last spring, O’Brien took his team to London on a 10-day trip, where they took part in sightseeing and of course, lots of soccer – even against professional teams from London. Through experiences like these, the team has grown extremely close, which leads to even more success on the field.

“He’s brought us all together here and if it weren’t for him, we wouldn’t be a team,” said Kowalski. “He honestly spoils us and he cares about each and every one of us.”

With the season just coming to a start, O’Brien’s 97 wins will just be a small number compared to what he is hoping to win in the future.

Co-captain Ashley Small ‘15, who has received numerous MAAC honors while under the tutelage of O’Brien, added that “he definitely deserves every single win that he gets.”

After breaking the program record on Sunday, Sept. 14, against the Stony Brook Seawolves, O’Brien added that he is thrilled, yet, at the same time, relieved and ready to accomplish more with the team.

“Now we can move ahead and get more wins,” said O’Brien.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.