On a picture perfect day on Nov. 11 at Snapdragon Stadium in San Diego, team co-owner Jennifer Tepper Mackesy ’91 watched NJ/NY Gotham FC compete for the 2023 National Women’s Soccer League Championship in front of a record crowd.

Having played on William & Mary’s nationally competitive team as an undergraduate, Jen Mackesy could appreciate the emotions of the moment for the women in the white Gotham uniforms.  It had been a storybook year for the club, which in 2022 had finished last, at one point losing 12 matches in a row.

“This was our third playoff game, we’d already won in North Carolina and Portland and being in the championship game made me so proud of our players, coaches and staff,” she said.  “It was a great feeling to see them competing for the trophy after they had all worked so hard!”

Little did she know that the match would be replete with dramatic moments that would make a Hollywood screenwriter blush:

  • Longtime USA national team teammates Megan Rapinoe (OL Reign) and Ali Krieger (Gotham) were retiring after the match.
  • Early in the match Rapinoe’s career ended with an injury and she exited to cheers and tears.
  • Gotham’s goalkeeper was sent off and because of substitution rules the team had to use a midfielder in the goal toward the end of the match as Gotham was clinging to a 2-1 lead.
  • When the final whistle sounded, last year’s worst team had won the championship trophy

A little more W&M flavor was added to the match when Jen Mackesy’s two close friends, W&M and U.S. national women’s team soccer legend Jill Ellis ’88, L.H.D. ’16,  who is also president of San Diego Wave FC, and Kathy Carter, president of LA28, the summer 2028 Olympic and Paralympic games, watched the game with her. Jen Mackesy, Ellis and Carter were all teammates on the Tribe’s standout 1987 team that finished in the top five in the country.

Jen Mackesy is part of a Gotham ownership group that includes her husband, D. Scott Mackesy ’91, and several sports luminaries, including Eli Manning, Sue Bird, Kevin Durant and Carli Lloyd.

“As New Yorkers, we are very excited to be part of our hometown club and it’s a great time for women’s sports, especially professional women’s soccer,” she said.

Jen and Scott Mackesy have also taken their love for soccer across the Atlantic;  they are part of the ownership group of Chelsea FC with W&M alumnus and major athletics supporter Todd Boehly ’96, chairman of the Chelsea FC Board. Boehly and his wife, Katie Garrett Boehly ’95, have made leadership gifts to the new William & Mary Athletics Complex, as well as to numerous other athletics’ facilities.

Chelsea FC has both men’s and women’s teams, and the Chelsea women have won the Women’s Super League Championship for the past four years, including last May in Reading with Mackesy in attendance and cheering them on to their 3-0 victory.

Since Jen and Scott Mackesy graduated, they have remained involved with W&M at the highest levels. They are playing a critical part in athletics’ All In fundraising campaign as they are underwriting funding for the Mackesy Sports Performance Center, which will include strength and conditioning areas, study spaces, a sports medicine area and a full-sized practice court which will provide wonderful amenities for the Tribe’s 500 student-athletes.  Most recently they are responsible for improvements to the soccer practice facility in the Dillard Complex, which now — thanks to the Mackesys — has new lights and will soon have a new turf field. 

“We know how important facilities are when it comes to helping student-athletes perform at the highest level,” said Jen Mackesy.

“The Mackesys are front and center when it comes to supporting W&M Athletics,” says Brian D. Mann, director of athletics. “As former student-athletes and devoted alumni, they are the embodiment of Green & Gold Pride.  We are incredibly thankful to them and thrilled for them to win a championship!” 

This fall, in another demonstration of appreciation for her commitment to the Tribe, Jen Mackesy was honored by the gift of a #13 soccer jersey for her service as chair of the athletics subcommittee of the W&M Foundation.