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After leading Villanova to its first two post-season victories in program history in November 2011, head coach Tom Carlin enters his fifth season with the Wildcats eager to scale new plateaus in 2012.
Over the course of his time on the job, Carlin has worked diligently to enhance the total program. The Wildcats have landed a series of decorated recruiting classes since his promotion from the assistant coaching spot he held in 2007 and reached the BIG EAST Tournament in each of his first four seasons at the helm. What's more, there has been an active outreach to the program's alumni base, the development of a new web site (vusoccer.com), and a continued emphasis on dedication to the community.
The 2011 season ended with a flourish for the Wildcats, who upended No. 18 Notre Dame and No. 5 USF with 1-0 victories on the road to reach the BIG EAST semifinals at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J. This marked the 'Cats first appearance in the semifinals since 1993 and VU battled St. John's for more than 75 minutes in a scoreless battle before the Red Storm notched two late goals to advance.
VU ended the campaign with an 8-9-4 record and established a new single season school record for shutouts (nine). Ten starters from that unit are due to return to the lineup in 2012 and there is considerable enthusiasm about what lies ahead.
Quietly, Villanova has made steady progress in Carlin's tenure.
The Wildcats overcame injuries and the use of an untested freshman goalkeeper to reach the 2008 postseason, dropping a tough 2-1 decision at Providence College in the BIG EAST Tournament quarterfinal. They built on that in 2009, finishing with a 9-8-2 record that resulted in the program's third ever BIG EAST Tournament home game. Following the season, first team All-BIG EAST selection Mike Seamon was a second round draft choice of the Seattle Sounders FC.
In 2010, the Wildcats posted a 4-3-2 mark in one of the nation's toughest conferences and finished 8-8-3 overall. They will welcome nine starters along with medical redshirt Chris Christian back for what looms as an exciting 2011 campaign.
"Tom is a proven head coach, has quickly developed into one of the top recruiters in Division I soccer and is a dynamic leader," said Villanova director of athletics Vince Nicastro in announcing that Carlin would succeed Larry Sullivan. "In the short period of time that he has been with our program, he has consistently demonstrated his commitment to our values. We are pleased to have Tom take over the leadership of our men's soccer program."
Carlin first joined the Villanova staff as an assistant coach in June of 2007, bringing him back to the region where he grew up and first made his mark in soccer. He quickly made an impact, helping the Wildcats upset top ranked Duke and return to the BIG EAST Tournament after a one-season absence.
From 2000-2005, Carlin served as the head coach at Arcadia University in Glenside, Pa., where he posted a 99-23-9 record. Over the course of his tenure he steered Arcadia to three Pennsylvania Athletic Conference titles and three NCAA Championship appearances. Arcadia advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight in 2002 and the Sweet 16 in 2001.
Following his stint at Arcadia, Carlin was appointed Associate Head Coach at Northwestern where he assisted in all facets of the program, including recruiting, scouting, and training sessions. Northwestern's 2006 and 2007 recruiting classes were ranked No. 21 in the nation by Soccer America.
"We are very excited about this incoming class," Northwestern head coach Tim Lenahan said. "Much of the credit certainly goes to Tom Carlin who was instrumental in recruiting this class."
Carlin also brings extensive club coaching experience with him to Villanova.
From 2003-06 he was head coach of the Philadelphia Soccer Club Coppa, a U-17/U-18 boy's team that captured the 2004 and 2005 Pennsylvania state championship.
In 2007, he guided the FC Sockers Soccer Club, an 18 and Under boy's team based in Palantine, Ill.
For three seasons, Carlin served with an Olympic Development program as well.
As a player, Carlin was a three-year captain at Arcadia. He was named first team All PAC from 1996-98. He graduated in 1999 with a B.A. in History and a minor in secondary education. He went on to earn a M.A. in Educational Leadership in 2002 from Arcadia.
Carlin and his wife Catara were married in 2012.