William Kohler '97
Soccer - Hall of Fame Class of 2012
Harvard Athletic Achievements
When you have the talent of a star, all you can do is shine. Will Kohler, a four year letterwinner and senior captain, wrote an impressive resume on the Harvard Soccer team from 1993-1996, helping his team to two Ivy Championships and NCAA appearances. He was named Ivy League Player of the Year in 1996, as well as First Team All-American. This four-time All-Ivy honoree impressed the soccer world so much, he was chosen as a 1997 Major League Soccer SuperDraft Finalist for the New York MetroStars.
Will was named to the First Team All-Ivy three times (1994-1996) and also earned the team Welch MVP award in those years. He was ranked first all-time in career assists until 2009. He currently ranks second all-time with 26 career assists, and fifth all-time in career points (82). He led the Crimson to two Ivy League Championships and two NCAA appearances (1994 & 1996). Will’s senior year, his team made it to the third round in the tournament. After his collegiate career, he was asked to try out for the U-20 U.S. National Team and the Olympic team and was chosen in the second round as the fifteenth draft pick in the 1997 MLS draft. Will also played on the U-17 U.S. National Team prior to entering college.
Remembering Harvard Athletics
I would like to thank the Harvard Varsity Club and the Selection Committee for this great honor. I feel privileged to be in the company of past inductees and alongside this current group, including some fellow classmates whose athletic prowess I got to witness firsthand. Congratulations to all the inductees!
Soccer has always been a form of expression for me. My European parents introduced me to the sport and I was determined to make my father/coach proud with my play. As a hotheaded pre-teen, soccer was an outlet in which to vent any frustrations. Then there were the teenage years when the search for my “cool” identity ended on the soccer field. Now a parent of soccer players, I reflect back on these years and truly appreciate the wonderful coaches I had; starting with my father and culminating with Mike Gorni, Sam Holt and Nick Chrisanthon. Great coaches understand where kids are in their lives and how to positively lead and impact them on the field, while at the same time reminding them to have fun. Thank you coaches for your awesome guidance and patience.
My transition to Harvard was an intimidating one that began with preseason. I... was extremely fortunate to begin this journey alongside some childhood teammates; Kevin Silva, Rich Wilmot, Tariq Jawad and TJ Carella. This may have been an unprecedented number playing together at the same university, and you all made Harvard feel like home from day one. When we met the other incoming freshmen, I quickly realized that soccer was no longer a means for self expression but rather an endeavor that would bind us for life. For this reason I would like to specifically thank our soccer class of 1997; along with the boys mentioned above, Jim Quagliaroli, John Vrionis, Peter Albers (and wife Cassia), and Taadeh Sheriff. My years playing soccer at Harvard helped transform me into the person I am today and you were all such an important part. Furthermore, I’m proud of the people you have become and our longstanding friendships speak to the unique experience Harvard provides.
It is rare to be able to experience athletic success at the collegiate level while at the same time receiving a world class education, and I’d like to give a special shout out to all my teammates that made this possible. We won two Ivy League Championships, participated in the NCAA Tournament twice (advancing to the third round my senior year), and had a record-setting season in 1996, winning sixteen straight games. We accomplished all this by epitomizing what it takes to come together as a team in light of imperfect circumstances.
To my wife Devon who graduated Harvard in ’99, played Varsity Women’s Soccer all four years, and frequently reminds me that she won more Ivy League Championships than I, thank you for being the greatest wife and mother a person could ask for. It means the world to me that we share all these memories and relationships.
Of course, none of this would be possible without my parents. I cannot thank you enough for all that you have done in order to make my experience at Harvard a reality. My greatest hope is that we can emulate you by providing the same direction and support to our children. You continue to be the benchmark I strive for with each new phase of life.