Meet the new Boys Soccer coach, Neil Cassidy


Mayo Boys Soccer Head Coach, Neil Cassidy


Mayo’s new soccer coach, Neil Cassidy is from Manchester, England and has a passion for coaching football. Back in Manchester, Coach Neil started to play football when he was very young; he may have heard that Americans call the sport “soccer,” but like in so many other parts of the world, soccer is called football in England. As a young footballer, Coach Neil began to climb to higher levels in the game until, unfortunately when he was 16 years old, he broke his leg. That event led him to coaching instead. He mentioned that he had found out he enjoyed coaching “way more than [he] had liked playing.” 

Coach Neil’s expertise and knowledge of the sport increased through years of training and experience; he went on to earn all his licenses and degrees. Right now, he has the highest coaching license attainable in the US and the second highest in Europe! Beyond that, Coach Neil’s full time job is working with soccer: he’s the Technical and Program Director for the Minnesota Rush, which is a soccer program designed to teach players soccer skills, sportsmanship, and teamwork while being in a fun, rather than competitive environment. 

Coach Cassidy has a big family, including his wife who he mentioned is a kindergarten teacher, and five kids, one of whom is a foster child who has been a part of the Cassidy family for the past seven months. When asked if they also enjoyed soccer like he does, he responded jokingly, “They have to; they don’t have a choice.” Something else they enjoy doing together is fishing, and whenever they have a chance they are out enjoying all that nature has to offer. In fact, every year they have their tradition of going out to pick their Christmas tree, as they did last Saturday. They also love celebrating Thanksgiving and other family occasions.  

Not only is Coach Neil passionate about soccer, he is also a board member at an organization known as Brighter Tomorrows, which was formed by four mothers when their children were diagnosed with cancer. He explained that Brighter Tomorrows is a support group for families going through the diagnosis of children’s pediatric cancer, including those diagnosed, recovered, and unfortunately those who have passed. Although it is local, it has a national influence since the Mayo Clinic is so diverse with people all over the world coming here. Brighter Tomorrows has helped his family too, when at two years old, his son was diagnosed with cancer. He is a firm believer in giving back, so when the opportunity to become a board member with them surfaced, he had to take it.

When it came to talking about his new position at Mayo High School, he explained, “it was kind of a combination of things.” Ever since he came over to the states from Manchester, he had been coaching a team. He coached the college women’s soccer at St. Marys for ten years, which just ended last November. He already knew a couple of the guys who played on the Mayo Boys soccer team, and as he said, “all the stars aligned, and [I] thought it would be a fun opportunity.”

This season, Coach Neil has been delighted with the guys on the team: “phenomenal guys, the guys on the team are great.” Something he always mentions is “Student first, athlete second.” He brought up that the team had an average GPA of 3.6 which he was “really impressed with.”

On the pitch, or soccer field, the team fared well, finishing the season at 8-4-1 and advancing to the final game of the sectionals, according to the Minnesota Soccer Hub. Congratulations to Coach Cassidy and the Boys Soccer team; here’s hoping that you have many successful seasons together.