Thanks to the generosity of Jennifer Tepper Mackesy ’91, D. Scott Mackesy ’91 and John Goodenow “Goody” Tyler II in the closing days of the successful All In campaign, W&M Athletics and Campus Recreation are making a major upgrade in campus facilities. A completely new turf field named Jill Ellis Field will be installed in the new 1987 Women’s Soccer Team Training Center, which will include a new scoreboard and lights, making night practices and games possible.

“With incredible generosity from Jen, Scott and Goody, W&M Athletics is able to appropriately recognize Jill Ellis, one of our most celebrated alumnae, and one of our best-ever soccer teams. This is a wonderful opportunity to recognize a long legacy of support from Jill,” said Director of Athletics Brian D. Mann. “It is particularly noteworthy that this gift impacts the entire university as the improved facilities will benefit our varsity soccer and lacrosse teams as well as intramural and club sports.”

Jill Ellis Field will be dedicated on April 20 in honor of legendary Tribe soccer player Jill Ellis ’88, L.H.D.’16, who has had a stellar career as a head coach at the Division 1 level and as the head coach for the U.S. National Women’s Team, which won back-to-back FIFA World Cups in 2015 and 2019. She is currently the team president for San Diego Wave FC. Already a member of the U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame, Jill will be inducted in the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame the weekend of April 19-20.

“I am so very appreciative and humbled by this incredible gesture,” said Ellis. “Never did I dream that a field at William & Mary would have my name on it, and to know that varsity and club athletes will be out there enjoying themselves, brings me immense joy. Truly, I cannot think of an honor that would mean more to my family and me, and I am so thrilled that my teammates and great friends are being recognized at the same time. My thanks goes out to the entire W&M community.”

Jen Mackesy was a freshman on the 1987 team when Ellis was a captain. “Jill is one of the most influential and decorated persons in the history of U.S. women’s soccer, but I don’t think it’s the wins or honors that are her most notable accomplishments. Rather it’s the impact that they will have on generations of female players and coaches in the years to come,” she said. 

Tribe Athletics will also honor one of the most successful women’s soccer teams in its history with the establishment of the 1987 Women’s Soccer Team Training Center. It was in the NCAA Tournament that the ’87 team put W&M on the soccer map by making a run all the way to the Elite Eight and finishing in the top 5 in the country. “When I reflect on my time at William & Mary, I realize how special the ’87 team was, with incredible leadership by the senior class. Not only did we have success on the field and in the classroom, but many of our teammates have gone on to amazing careers,“ said Mackesy.

Members of the 1987 team also included current W&M head soccer coach Julie Shackford ’88; Kathy Carter ’91,  senior advisor to the Los Angeles 2028 Summer Olympic Games; and National Player of the Year Megan McCarthy ’88. Pictured below is the ‘87 team after they defeated the University of North Carolina in the WAGS Tournament.

A black and white photo shows a sports team posing for a photo together with two people holding a clock and trophy
Front row, left to right: Jen Tepper, Gail Brophy, Kathy Carter, Kristen Jesulaitis, Jen Volgeneau, Amy McDowell, Kathie Stough. Second row: Karen Prien, Jen Johns, Coach John Daly, Asst Coach April Heinrichs, Joyce Flood, Nancy Reinisch, Holly Barrett, Julie Cunningham. Third row: Sandra Gaskill, Diane Wright, Robin Lotze, Margie Vaughan, Debbie Matson, Megan McCarthy, Jill Ellis. Back row: Laura Absalom, Colleen Corwell, Stacy Zeman. (W&M Athletics photo)

Mackesy, who is a co-owner of NJ/NY Gotham FC and part of the ownership group of Chelsea FC, knows how important good facilities are when it comes to helping athletes reach their peak. “The ’87 Women’s Soccer Team Training Center will provide a tremendous opportunity for the Tribe’s student-athletes to practice and play in a first-class facility that will help them compete at the highest level.”

“I’m also delighted that William & Mary students who participate in rec sports will have the opportunity to use the training center,” she said. “Those students will hopefully be fans and supporters of the varsity teams and cheer them on in games. That’s extremely important for the entire university community.”

Together with his late wife — Helen “Bee” Elizabeth McLeod ‘83, M.B.A. ’91 — Goody Tyler has long supported wellness initiatives at W&M.  “I am grateful to Linda Knight (Executive Director of Health & Wellness) for sharing her vision for Campus Recreation with me, and I’m thrilled to team up with the Mackesys to help create new opportunities for all William & Mary students to be active and experience recreational sports,” said Tyler.  

Details for the dedication of Jill Ellis Field and the 1987 Women’s Soccer Team Training Center are being finalized, and in a ceremony very dear to the hearts of the ’87 team, there will be a bench dedication in honor of team member Kathleen McCarthy ’87, Megan McCarthy’s older sister, who passed away recently.

Athletics Director Mann and Executive Director of Health & Wellness Knight ask the community to mark the calendar for April 20.  “Please join us for what will be a fantastic celebration as we officially unveil our great new facility, thank our generous donors, salute the ’87 team and acknowledge the huge impact of women’s soccer on William & Mary.”