Thomas J. McLaughlin '98

Soccer - Hall of Fame Class of 2013









Harvard Athletic Achievements

There’s nothing better in college soccer than a truly gifted and well-rounded player. This is precisely what Harvard found when Tom McLaughlin joined the team in 1994. Tom excelled at the highest level on the field, earning Ivy League Player of the Year his senior year (1997). He was twice named to the All-Ivy First Team (1996, 1997) and received the 1997 Welch MVP Award after a stellar senior campaign. He also earned Second Team All-Ivy honors in 1995.

Tom currently ranks third all-time in career assists (25) and first in assists in a season (15 in 1996). The four year letterwinner and senior captain is also ranked second for most points in a season (41 in 1996). Tom’s leadership helped his team to two Ivy League championships and two NCAA Tournament appearances (1994, 1996). In 1996, Tom led his team to a postseason win over Beantown rival Boston University, 3-2, before losing a heartbreaker in double overtime to Hartford in the second round of the tournament, 3-2. In February of 1998, Tom was selected by the New England Revolution in the third round (36th overall) of the MLS Draft.
 

Remembering Harvard Athletics

I am humbled to be inducted into the Harvard Varsity Club Hall of Fame. It’s an honor that I’ll cherish the rest of my days. I’d like to start off by congratulating my fellow 2013 inductees. To be in the company of these outstanding athletes is truly a privilege. I certainly want to thank the Harvard Varsity Club and the Selection Committee for considering me for this overwhelming honor. I’d also like to thank my family and friends who have traveled to be here with me tonight.

There’s a quote I heard as a young boy and has stayed with me over the years: “When you are not practicing, remember, someone somewhere is practicing, and when you meet him he will win.” That philosophy has served me well as a great motivator on the soccer field, in the classroom, and even in my professional career.  And when I came to Harvard, I discovered everyone was playing by that same playbook.

In the spring we used to have 7am Monday morning runs along the Charles to BU. I remember one particular Monday I was feeling really proud of myself getting up that early, felling extra fit, until I saw the swimmers crossing the bridge walking towards me having already finished their workouts, and as I looked to my right, the rowers were already in the water. One of the things I loved most about Harvard was that everyone was there to constantly improve themselves and their craft. People weren’t satisfied with just attending Harvard. Part of me chose Harvard thinking I had made it. Once I was here, I realized the journey had just begun. Harvard reinforced for me the importance of hard work and a relentless pursuit for improvement.  My athletic experience was a great example of this. Harvard was a magical place and I feel so honored to have attended.

I’d like to share this honor tonight with my teammates. Each teammate in my four years had their own story of success on and off the field and to see everyone come together as a team was an amazing experience. The 1996 season was clearly the highlight as we won 16 of the 17 games on our schedule and won the Ivy League Championship.

One advantage of playing a fall sport is that we came to campus early for preseason. My assigned roommate for preseason freshman year was Toure McCluskey, a life long friend in the making. During my recruiting trip, I had met Ricky Le and we hit it off from day one. So by the time classes started freshman year I already had two best friends. And with the addition of John Ferry, our roommate of three years, we did everything together. We challenged each other to be better in pretty much everything we did—certainly on the soccer field, in our studies and even playing ping-pong and pool. Thank you guys for your friendship and for being a big part of making Harvard such an enjoyable experience.

I want to thank all my coaches that helped me along the way. I’d like to thank my Harvard coach, Steve Locker for finding me in a small town in PA and for coaching us to 2 Ivy League championships in my 4 years. We had a strong, talented team and I was fortunate to be on the field whether it was on defense freshman/sophomore year or on offense junior/senior year. You always seemed to bring out the best in me. I also want to thank his coaching staff especially Gary Crompton, who later became my teammate with the Worcester Wildfire, for believing in me and helping me to grow as a player.

I’d like to thank my high school coach Bob Peffle for his tremendous influence on me as a player and as a person while attending LaSalle College High School. I entered smaller and shier than most and left stronger and more self-confident. I’m so proud to have been on the team that won the school’s first Philadelphia Catholic League Championship with you at the helm.

I’d really like to thank my family, my Mom, Dad, and sister Meridith for their ongoing inspiration and support. A game was a family event for the day, a tournament was a family vacation, the car rides made for great family conversations. I treasure the memories. Thanks Mom and Dad for sacrificing all your time, resources, and own aspirations to allow Meridith and I to take advantage of every opportunity we were given.

My Dad was my first coach at three years old and he really never stopped coaching me. After every game he was always the first person I’d look to for a comment on the game. Dad, your consistent support was one of the best gifts you’ve ever given me. Mom, thank you for being my guiding light. I’ve been learning from you from day one. And special thanks to you Meridith, my built-in best friend, tireless cheerleader, and staunch supporter.

I’d like to thank my wife Raine for choosing Harvard as well. Otherwise, I may not have met the most inspiring 5 foot 2 inch powerhouse of a woman that I’d later be blessed to call my wife. We met at Harvard, got married in Harvard Yard and celebrated our wedding reception in this very room. While the greatest honor I’ve ever received from Harvard is this induction, the greatest gift from Harvard was meeting Raine.  We now have two beautiful daughters, Lillian and Charlotte with futures full of promise. 

Lastly, thanks to Harvard for giving me an invisible badge of honor that has stayed with me everywhere I go. From the day I decided to go to Harvard, my life was never the same. In my community I was the kid who got the chance to go to Harvard, during college I was the proud student-athlete, in my brief time with the New England Revolution my teammates called me Harvard (and asked for stock tips), when I played in Germany I didn’t speak the language but the two words I’d always catch were To’mas and Harvard. I went off to wall street as a bond salesman and had the Harvard connection with many. I have been so fortunate to be associated with this tremendously respected institution. I continue to practice everyday. I practice to be a better son, brother, friend, husband and father because the journey is far from over.