McArdle Carries on Family Tradition
Making the decision to take on the challenge of continuing her education and soccer career at the United States Military Academy comes naturally for Caitlin McArdle.
Richard McArdle, the father of the Pinecrest senior, is a West Point graduate who retired as a lieutenant colonel after over 20 years in the Army. Her brother, Eamon, is a senior at West Point, and her grandfather taught there.
"It's definitely a family thing," she says, "but it's also something I've really wanted to do for a long time. And I've always thought I'd like to play soccer for them."
An all-around student-athlete, Caitlin McArdle earned all-conference honors last year in soccer and cross country. Working in some track with the soccer last spring, she also found time to finish fourth in the 800-meter run at the conference championships. She expects to graduate in June with an International Baccalaureate diploma.
The daughter of Richard and Mary McArdle, Caitlin was born in Clarksville, Tenn. The family made stops in Alabama, Virginia and Germany before settling in this area when she was in the fourth grade.
In that same year, she joined the Sandhills Force soccer team of the Sandhills Youth Soccer League coached by Ann Anderson. Many of her current Patriot teammates also played on that team that stayed together until last year.
Known as a tenacious defender, McArdle approached then-Army coach Gene Ventriglia last year about playing for the Black Knights, and sent him some tapes. Ventriglia has since retired and been succeeded by 2001 Duke graduate Stefanie Golan. Army is a member of the Patriot League, a conference that includes Navy, Holy Cross, American, Lehigh and Bucknell among others.
Last April, she made a visit to the Academy located along the banks of the Hudson River in New York and stayed with a team member. As the daughter of a West Point graduate, she was able to get a Presidential nomination to the Academy, as well as one from U.S. Congressman Howard Coble.
As a 20-year veteran of the U.S. Marines before joining the teaching staff at Pinecrest, Patriot soccer coach Larry Martin thinks McArdle possesses the right stuff to be successful at West Point, and as a career person in the military.
"Caitlin has a lot of heart and a lot of grit," he says. "She's a distance runner and when you're a distance runner you understand work ethic. She's a defender and has the kind of mentality where she's taking on the opposition.
"She is also a leader and a very intelligent young lady. I think all of those traits and qualities will serve her well as she takes on the challenge of going to the U.S. Military Academy."
McArdle was also recruited by Army as a track athlete, but understands that soccer is pretty much a year-round sport in college. She is attracted by the entire experience the Academy offers.
"The character and tradition of the Academy, I just love all of it," she says. "It definitely helps to be part of a team because it's like your family there."
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