Winning the Right Way
Ed Kelly and Alejandro Bedoya swap stories before Bedoya’s Philadelphia Union play the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium.
What lights the fire under a winning sports team? According to men’s soccer coach Ed Kelly, P’06, ’07, ’10, it isn’t the coach’s emphasis on strategies or tactics. It’s not even the native talent of the players. It’s what happens in the locker room: the bond among the players, the mentorship of team leaders, the work ethic that drives the team.
When Kelly arrived at BC 32 years ago, the soccer program was struggling. Just two years later, his team was the Big East champion, the first of 13 NCAA tournament appearances.
BC is a beacon for the world—and it affects me in the same way. It’s a special, special place. I have the ability to influence other people’s lives. I support the ones who need me most, and I take that responsibility very seriously. BC has given me the tools to do that. Boston College is one of the great loves of my life.
EDMOND KELLY, P’06, ’07, ’10
This past spring, Kelly pulled off another electrifying win. “It was time—well past time,” he says wryly—to update the men’s soccer locker rooms. “They were far from a collegiate standard,” he admits. Kelly had a vision: give players the facilities they need, and inspire them by honoring the rich history of the program.
So he encouraged soccer alumni to support the renovation, recognizing their generosity by naming lockers for them. “I wanted to be able to point around the room and show recruits and team members the great players who came before them,” he explains.
Even for a coach used to winning, the effort was a stunning success. Within three weeks, more than 90 past players fully funded the new locker rooms that were completed just in time for the 2019 season. Many of them had played for Kelly—but not all. Kelly was amazed to be contacted by members of BC’s very first soccer team, a club team formed in 1967. “There are no archives, no records from that time,” he says. “I didn’t even know BC had a soccer team then.”
Richard Quinn ’67 says they certainly did, and he has very fond memories of playing on it. “I was so glad to help out the kids playing today,” he says. “I’m very proud of how far Eagles soccer has come.”
Former BC captain Alejandro Bedoya ’09, now captain of Major League Soccer’s Philadelphia Union, remembers his own days in the locker room at Conte Forum as formative. He still maintains strong relationships with many former teammates. “Locker room culture is a very big thing; it’s where you spend the most time,” he says. “The coach is at the helm, but he’s relying on guys like me, captains or other experienced players, to create those intimate moments and build a team family.”
There was the sense of a real community at BC, like people really cared about you. Dick Kelley (the late Richard Kelley ’87, MA’89, assistant athletics director for media relations) had a big impact on me. I respected and admired him a lot. He had an interest in my feelings not just about soccer or sports, but about life in general. He always asked what I wanted for the future. In a spiritual way, he guided me in the right direction.
ALEJANDRO BEDOYA ’09