Ciara McCormack founded TOPP Soccer to help girls who have big dreams, and most importantly, the work ethic, tenacity, and belief in themselves to realize those dreams.
Ciara wasn’t supposed to play D1 soccer. She wasn’t supposed to become a professional player. And she wasn’t supposed to be a member of Ireland’s national team.
She was never the star of any club while growing up. She sat on numerous benches through her career and many coaches from her very first one, told her she didn’t have what it took to be a successful soccer player. Her dream was to play NCAA soccer, but she didn’t hear back from most schools she reached out to.
Despite being rejected by many NCAA coaches, she stuck with the sport and the process. Her perseverance paid off. After writing many schools her junior and senior year of high school, she visited four schools, and eventually accepted an offer to play D1 soccer at Yale University. When she earned her Bachelor’s degree from Yale, she had one year of soccer eligibility remaining due to an injury. She played her final year at another D1 school — the University of Connecticut, where she earned a Master’s degree while her team reached the NCAA Sweet Sixteen.
She went on to play professionally for 14 years in Denmark, Norway, Australia, Canada and the US. In 2003, Ciara and teammate Stacey Peterson became the first players from North America to reach the UEFA Champions League final and Ciara was the first North American player to score in UEFA Champions League play. While playing in Europe, Ciara earned a spot on the Irish National Team, representing the country where her parents were born, earning her first caps against the US in 2008.
This absolutely remarkable career was built on sheer force of will by a player that was often told she wasn’t good enough. Ciara is living proof that with the right support and information and when someone is willing to work harder than everyone else, the impossible becomes possible.
Since her playing career ended, Ciara co-founded a girls soccer club in Connecticut, helping almost 80% of her players land on NCAA rosters in 2016, including offers from Big Ten, Ivy League and SEC schools. She was also an assistant at Yale from 2011-2014, and she created the first all-girls soccer showcase in Canada in 2008.
Ciara launched TOPP Soccer with the belief that applying an organized, rigorous approach to the college recruiting process can empower any player to achieve a successful outcome. The team at TOPP Soccer know they have unique tools and experience that can help high school players with great attitudes, a solid level of technical/tactical and physical skill, along with the proper work ethic to find the perfect college where they can play soccer and get a great education.
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