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Dave Clarke enters his 14th season as the head coach of the Quinnipiac women’s soccer team in 2012.
Without question, Clarke has already left an indelible mark on the Quinnipiac soccer legacy during his tenure in Hamden. In 13 seasons at Quinnipiac, Clarke has posted a 110-106-22 record. The 2011 campaign featured a number of accolades for the Bobcats, despite falling two wins short of another NEC Tournament bid. Under Clarke’s tutelage, Kyla Miles and junior midfielder Shauna Edwards were selected to the NEC All-Conference second team, while freshman Jess Lavoie was selected to the NEC All-Rookie team. The women’s soccer program also received the National Soccer Coaches Association of American (NSCAA) Team Academic Award for the 2010-11 academic school-year.
In 2010, Clarke led the Bobcats to a 7-7-4 overall record and 5-2-3 mark in Northeast Conference play. Quinnipiac made its second-straight appearance in the NEC Tournament, but was eliminated in penalty kicks in a semifinal match-up against Saint Francis (Pa.). Junior Furtuna Velaj and sophomore Jillian Strassner each received All-Conference honors, while senior defenders Jen Hartman and Kyla Miles were selected to the 2011 NEC All-Tournament team.
Quinnipiac finished the 2009 season at 7-2-1 in the NEC, making its first appearance to the NEC Tournament since 2004. The Bobcats finished the year at 8-7-2 overall and lost in the semifinal round against Monmouth, 1-0. Freshman Jillian Strassner was named NEC Rookie of the Year, while also receiving All-Conference first team honors. Furtuna Velaj and senior Hanne Walleck were also named All-NEC, while Walleck and sophomore Kristina Del Mistro were selected to the NEC All-Tournament team.
In the 2008 season, Clarke coached the Bobcats to a 7-7-2 overall record and just narrowly missed the post-season by four points. Clarke brought in freshman stand-out Furtuna Velaj who led the Northeast Conference in points (31), goals (15) and game-winning goals (7). Velaj was also named to the NEC All-Conference Team at season end.
The Bobcats finished both the 2006 and 2007 seasons with 9-7-2 records and Clarke saw five of his players make it on the NEC All-Conference Team.
Though the Bobcats suffered through an injury-plagued 2005 season while registering a 6-10-3 record, Clarke’s squad still performed academically, earning the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Team Academic Award for exemplary performance in the classroom. The team posted a 3.04 grade point average.
In his first season (1999), Clarke led Quinnipiac to a 16-5 record and a berth in the Northeast Conference championship game.
Back in 2000, Clarke led Quinnipiac to the Northeast Conference tournament title and a berth in the NCAA tournament. The women’s soccer team was the first of any kind in school history to qualify for the NCAA tournament at the Division I level.
Once Quinnipiac reached the NCAA’s, it knocked off Loyola (Md.) by a score of 2-1 in a play-in game. From there, QU lost to Harvard by that same tally in a first round contest.
Under Clarke’s guidance, Quinnipiac finished the 2000 season with a 13-7-1 mark.
During that off-season, Clarke was also selected to the USSF National Instructional Staff, the highest level of coaching and educating in the United States.
In 2001, QU went 12-6 and won the Northeast Conference regular season title. Unfortunately, its hopes for a second straight NCAA tournament bid fell short when Quinnipiac lost in the league tournament semifinals.
In 2002, the Bobcats were decimated by injuries, losing several top players for large portions of the season. Nevertheless, the Bobcats were in the hunt for a Northeast Conference playoff spot up until the final weekend of the year. The Bobcats finished the season with a 3-12-1 mark, but were 3-4-1 in Northeast Conference play.
In 2003, the Bobcats just missed out on a NEC tournament bid and closed with a 4-3-2 mark in league action.
In 2004, the Bobcats finished 8-9-2 with a 5-2-2 mark in the Northeast Conference. Quinnipiac earned the fourth and final spot in the NEC Tournament. The Bobcats were defeated in the semifinals by eventual NEC Champion, Central Connecticut State University. Quinnipiac edged CCSU 1-0 during the regular season. In addition, the Bobcats had the NEC Player and Rookie of the Year in Kirsten van de Ven.
Clarke has been recognized for his coaching ability in several levels of play. In September of 2008, Clarke was asked to assist the Irish National Women’s Soccer Team when they played in the “Achieve Your Gold” Tournament hosted by the U.S. Women’s National Team. Clarke worked directly under the head coach, Noel King, with whom he’s had a long-standing relationship in the world of soccer. Clarke’s official role under King was scouting and identification of players. It was Clarke’s first time coaching at that level, and he was able to help out the Irish team for their three matches against the U.S.
Before Quinnipiac, Clarke served as the head women’s soccer coach of the highly-successful University of New Haven program from 1997-99. At UNH, Clarke posted an overall record of 18-14-3 in his two seasons, including an impressive 12-5-1 mark in 1998. As a result, Clarke was named the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) Women’s Soccer Coach of the Year.
Clarke has been extremely active in both men’s and women’s soccer in the state of Connecticut. He is a staff coach for the Connecticut Junior Soccer Association and is a License Instructor for the United States Soccer Federation. Clarke was also a staff coach with both Connecticut and Region I Olympic Development Programs. He holds a USSF ‘A’ License, a National Youth License, the NSCAA Advanced National Diploma and coaching qualifications from Ireland, England and Holland.
Clarke also served as an assistant coach for the Connecticut Wolves A-League Team from 1996-98. Following a successful collegiate playing career at Central Connecticut, Clarke also played six seasons as a professional for the Wolves from 1993 to 1998.
Clarke was also the head boys’ soccer coach at Newington High School from 1994-96, winning two consecutive Central Connecticut Conference titles.
A 1992 graduate of Central Connecticut State University, the Ireland native earned a B.S. in physical education. He served as an assistant coach for the Blue Devils from 1991-93. As an undergraduate, Clarke was a three-year recipient of the CCSU Scholar-Athlete Award (1989, 1990, and 1991).
Clarke recently pursued a master’s degree in Journalism at Quinnipiac. As part of his program, he interned with the US Men’s and Women’s National Team, the New England Revolution of MLS and the Boston Breakers of WPS. He received his degree in May of 2010 and is currently using the qualification to teach a section of Quinnipiac’s freshman seminar series.
Currently, Clarke coaches the Connecticut FC Under-15 ECNL team and the CFC Elite Academy. Overall, Clarke’s teams have won 14 state championships, a USYSA Region I Championship and a USYSA National Championship.
Clarke and his wife Kelly live in Glastonbury with their daughters, Maire, Aine and twins Bridget and Kevin.