Meet Matthew McCarthy: New Boys’ Lacrosse Assistant Coach

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Emma Haag

McCarthy (shown here holding his lacrosse stick) instructs his players to select their jerseys ahead of their first league game against the Woodbridge Warriors on March 7.

McCarthy (shown here holding his lacrosse stick) instructs his players to select their jerseys ahead of their first league game against the Woodbridge Warriors on March 7. (Emma Haag)

A new mentor steps onto the lacrosse field —  a former three-year high school varsity lacrosse player who led his team to championships as the team captain. 

Matthew McCarthy was one of five assistant coaches hired to help with the JV and varsity boys’ lacrosse teams for the 2021-22 season. 

While in high school, McCarthy was coached by head coach Brendan Murphy in his club team called Everyone United. During one of the practices, Murphy mentioned that he was the only coach at Portola High, so McCarthy took advantage of the opportunity to bring his experience to Portola High this year. McCarthy had previously coached at University High during the 2020-21 season.

Since then, Murphy and McCarthy have formed a unique bond on the field, with Murphy praising McCarthy’s leadership and ability to connect with the players one-on-one.

“Just the way he communicates with the kids,” Murphy said. “At our little preseason kick off at the beach and it’s a combination of him having a really good time and being a good example while playing while also being a really good teacher and example of how to actually teach kids…So that’s been my fondest memory so far.”

McCarthy, an alumni of University High’s class of 2020, said he considers Murphy an older brother, someone who has mentored him throughout his high school lacrosse career. McCarthy is one of the youngest coaches to ever help coach the team. 

“He’s more about discipline, and we’re able to see the layout of what he wants us to do,” varsity midfielder and senior Eduardo Olvera Hernandez said. “He’ll make us play situational wins, allowing us to get the upper hand at the starting point and a head start in the game.”

Being a younger coach strengthens the player-coach relationship because the coach is able to better understand the mentalities of the players. McCarthy said he strives to leave a positive impact on the boys through his success as a leader.“Seeing that growth is really satisfying,” McCarthy said. “To see where you came into something where there are a lot of people still learning on the beginner stage and then taking time to work hard is super gratifying. Since I myself can’t play for these guys, I have to do my best to lead them in the right direction to success.”