KANSAS CITY, Mo. — United Soccer Coaches announced Monday that Kansas City, Mo. police officer Ann Murphy will be honored with the association’s 2019 Jerry Yeagley Award for Exceptional Personal Achievement.
The award is presented annually to a former collegiate soccer student-athlete who has demonstrated extraordinary accomplishments and service beyond the sport itself.
It is named in honor of the legendary Indiana University soccer coach. Murphy will receive the award at the All-America ceremony and reception at the Baltimore Convention Center in conjunction with the United Soccer Coaches Convention Jan. 18.
“Ann Murphy is an exceptional selection for the Yeagley Award,” United Soccer Coaches president Jeff Farnsworth said. “She is a role model for players, coaches and fans. Her work as a police officer, with at-risk youth, her personal accomplishments on the field, in her community and in the classroom are truly remarkable. She exhibits the qualities of sportsmanship, integrity, leadership, respect, generosity and concern for others. Ann’s accomplishments serve as an inspiration to the soccer community.
A native of St. Louis, Mo., Murphy began her collegiate playing career at Saint Louis University before transferring to Missouri Valley College where she earned her undergraduate degree in 2007. She later received a master’s degree from the University of Cincinnati and will earn her Ph.D. in January from Walden University. She grew up playing for the Busch Soccer Club in St. Louis and Rockwood Summit High School in Fenton, Mo., annually one of the top Missouri high school programs. She continues to play today as a six-year member and captain of the KC Courage WPSL team.
Putting her life on the line daily as a police officer for the last 12 years, Murphy has developed a passion to reach young people through soccer. Following a homicide investigation involving several at-risk teenagers in the community, she founded her own inner-city club, FC Jaguars, in an effort to keep kids off the street and out of trouble. She started with an Under-14 boys team, then quickly added a U15 team the same summer as interest grew. Murphy was able to partner with the Police Athletic League of Kansas City, which shares her mission to reach youth in high crime areas through sports.
In 2015, the FC Jaguars became Youth RISE and gained non-profit status. Since its inception, Youth RISE has mentored hundreds of kids that were otherwise labeled as unreachable through its programs. Through mentorship, the program has provided opportunities to develop players, but more importantly teach the importance of teamwork, leadership, resilience, responsibility, the importance of an education and developing interpersonal skills.
Murphy has beencommitted to providing Youth RISE participants with opportunities that wouldn’t have otherwise been afforded to them due to their socioeconomic status. Weekly tutoring emphasizes the importance of academics and affords opportunities to further their education through soccer. She guides her players toward college visits and helps them obtain scholarships, many of them the first in their families to attend college. Youth RISE players are held to high standards which keep them off the streets and out of trouble.
Murphy recently finished her Ph.D. dissertation, which focuses on youth mentorship and gang prevention. Her Kansas City coaching experiences provided her with many case studies. Her players have challenges that many coaches don’t encounter, including language barriers, single parent homes, and transportation issues in their daily lives. She has believed in her kids and has motivated them to give them the necessary tools to rise above adversity.
Other recognition for Murphy’s work in the Kansas City community includes the 2017 Positive Coaching Alliance Double-Goal Coach National Award, 2018 Nicest Kansas Citian, 2018 MLS Works/Sporting KC Community MVP and the 2019 Kansas City Moms in Charge Honoree. In addition to sharing her vast knowledge of mentoring at-risk youth, she has been an instructor for United Soccer Coaches Urban Diploma for coaches.