The Boston Breakers named Tom Durkin their new head coach on Tuesday.
Durkin, who will be the fourth head coach in team history, has extensive experience with the United States National Team youth system, MLS and collegiate coaching. He was an assistant for the Breakers for two games last season under interim coach/defender Cat Whitehill, who took over for Lisa Cole when she was relieved of her coaching duties in August.
“I thoroughly enjoyed my interaction with the team at the end of last season,” said Durkin in a statement. ”The group of professionals that I encountered is talented and versatile and their work habits and eagerness put me at ease straight off.”
Durkin was a former Academy Director for the US U-17 and and U-16 residency programs in Brandenton, Fla. He coached and helped develop some major national team talents including Heath Pearce, Michael Parkhurst, and Aron Johansson. Durkin has also led girl’s soccer Olympic development programs, coached men’s soccer at both Union County College and Rutgers, and was an assistant for the Tampa Bay Mutiny in 1996.
His most recent endeavor is coaching FC Celtic Bolts, another U.S. Soccer developmental academy that is based in Boston. Breakers General Manager Lee Billiard says that Durkin’s experience developing players will be key for their Academy as well as the first team.
“He will slot into our organization perfectly, on and off the field,” Billiard added. “And he will also take part in the growth of our youth academy program. We have a top quality coach here in Boston. I am confident Tom will take the team where we want it to be and develop the players we have in our squad.”
The Breakers won their last two games of the season under Whitehill and Durkin, beating both Kansas City and Western New York. Durkin says that he enjoyed the competitive atmosphere of the Breakers team when he assisted Whitehill, which prompted him to talk to Billiard for a permanent position with the team.
“I found these ladies to be excellent role models and ambassadors for their sport and league,” Durkin explained. “The willingness to go above and beyond to see the league and the sport flourish in the U.S. was compelling, and I am proud to be part of it.”
The Breakers have varying degrees of experience on their team. Some spots in the lineup are occupied by World Cup and Olympic Games veterans will others are taken up by players who only had collegiate or semi-professional experience prior to last season. That gap in experience was one of the main reasons the Breakers failed to make the playoffs for the first time in franchise history last season.