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Zak McCarthy

2019 A&M-Texarkana Graduate

When Texas A&M University-Texarkana alumnus Zak McCarthy first set foot in the United States, he wasn’t entirely sure how long he would stay here. He was 17 years old and had made his way from just north of London to California to play soccer at Feather River College, a junior college located two hours northwest of Lake Tahoe. “It only took me a week or two of living in the states to realize that this was where I wanted to be,” said McCarthy. “I could just tell that living in the states was going to be a good fit.”

After playing two years of soccer for Feather River McCarthy, Zak was recruited to Texas A&M University-Texarkana as one of the initial players on the university’s inaugural soccer team. He made an immediate impact on the team as well as the campus, being named the team’s first ever captain as the Eagles’ goalkeeper and participating in numerous activities throughout the university. Zak also served as an Eagle Guide during his time at TAMUT, helping to show prospective students and parents around the university. He also worked in the university’s counseling center, where he implemented the Step UP! program on campus. Step UP! is a bystander intervention program that trains individuals to be proactive in helping others in trouble. The program remains active on campus today. “I was really able to have an impact on campus,” McCarthy said. “I’m proud of that. I’m also proud to have been the captain of the first Eagles soccer team, and to have been an assistant coach when the team went to the playoffs for the first time.”

After graduating from TAMUT in 2019, McCarthy went to Dallas looking for work in the business world, but was soon contacted about coming back to Texarkana to be an assistant soccer coach at Texas High School. He started there in 2019 and was an assistant coach with the TAMUT soccer team that year as well. The school district sponsored his work visa for one year, with the understanding that they would sponsor it further if he became certified to teach. McCarthy became certified to teach in 2020 and is currently on a three-year work visa sponsored by Texarkana Independent School District. At the end of his current visa, he will have been in the country long enough to apply for permanent residency, which he intends to do.

McCarthy says being the high school head coach is a rewarding job. You can see his enthusiasm for his players and his desire for them to succeed when he coaches. A careful eye for detail and passion for the game and his players has led to some early success for the program under his guidance. “We still have a long way to go,” says McCarthy. “But people look at our team differently now. Other teams recognize that we aren’t the easy game on the schedule anymore. So even if we lose a game, we’re steadily making progress,” he added. He’s enjoying the process of developing his players, and even found a way to put his business degree to use, using his marketing skills to promote the team on their social media accounts.

While he has a clear love for his new home, he does miss his family back in the United Kingdom. Travel restrictions during the pandemic have made it difficult to see his relatives, who would travel to the US once a year or so, while he took annual visits back to England. As the COVID-19 restrictions ease he hopes his parents will be able to visit again soon, and he’s planning on taking a trip back across the Atlantic this summer.
  • 7101 University Ave
  • Texarkana, TX 75503
  • p: 903.223.3000
  • f: 903.223.3104
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