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Not only was she a success as a forward on the UC-Santa Barbara soccer team and later in her career playing for the United States National Team, but Gabarra has also demonstrated the golden touch when leading others by example.
It is the gift of leadership, which has led her to become one of the household names within the collegiate coaching ranks. Not because she was an eight-time All-American (four in high school and four at UC-Santa Barbara), and not because she was a member of the 1996 Olympic gold-medal winning U.S. National Team, but because she has developed the Navy soccer program from ground level to one of the Mid-Atlantic Region's most competitive teams.
Since taking over the Navy program in 1993, she has taken the Midshipmen from a club-level organization to a team who has claimed at least a share of the Patriot League regular-season title seven times, made three NCAA Tournament appearances, and produced 21 consecutive winning seasons.
Gabarra is the Patriot League's all-time wins leader and joined an elite group of coaches when she won her 300th career game during the 2015 season. She joined Boston University's Nancy Feldman as the only two Patriot League coaches to reach the plateau.
Building from the Beginning
Gabarra arrived at Navy in 1993, and led the Mids to a 2-5 mark in their first season as a varsity sport. In the process, Navy gained valuable experience before beginning Patriot League competition in 1994.
The Mids showed great progress in their inaugural season, as they missed a league tournament berth by just one game. The improvement continued in '95 with Navy boasting a record of 10-7-1 while making their first Patriot League Tournament appearance. The team's success didn't stop there. The '96 squad produced an 11-6-2 record, finished fourth in the league and made its first postseason tournament appearance with a game against Monmouth in the ECAC Tournament. Gabarra guided the 1997 team to a 10-8 record and a third-place finish in the Patriot League. Six Mids earned All-Patriot League recognition, including Defensive Player of the Year and Academic All-America honoree, Nicole Aunapu.
The 1998 season fulfilled the dreams of many, as Gabarra led the Mids to 17 wins, 14 shutouts and Navy's first regular-season conference title. An unprecedented nine Mids earned all-league honors, including eight first-teamers. Justine Fisher earned rookie-of-the-year accolades, while Aunapu was dubbed Defensive Player of the Year for the second-straight season. Aunapu was just the sixth player in league history to earn First-Team All-Patriot League recognition all four years and concluded her career as a two-time Academic All-American.
In 1999, Navy again made a run at the Patriot League crown, as the Mids shared the regular-season title with a 5-1 league mark. While making a return trip to the conference championship game, six Mids were tabbed all-league, including Fisher who became the first Mid to be honored as the Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year.
The year 2000 brought Fisher her third all-league honor, as the Mids posted a 10-9-2 record and earned a bid to the league tournament for the sixth-consecutive season. Meanwhile, two rookies showed a glimmer of greatness to come in Amelia Sheveland, who tied the school record for goals in a game with four, and Stacy Finley, who made 17 starts while playing virtually every position.
Just one win shy of the school record, the 2001 team found success as it claimed a share of the Patriot League regular-season title with a 16-5-1 overall mark and 6-1 league record. Fisher became Navy's all-time leading scorer, while Gabarra claimed her 100th-career win all in one eventful day -- Oct. 28, 2001, against George Mason. Finley earned the offensive player-of-the-year title, Kate Macfarlane was deemed the defensive player of the year and Xochitl Piedra shared the top rookie honor. Meanwhile, Fisher and Kate Macfarlane both were Academic All-Americans.
Navy posted the program's first undefeated regular season at 16-0-4, before American upset the Mids in the Patriot League Tournament to leave the only blemish on the Mids' 2002 record. Navy was the only Div. I school that finished the 2002 season without a loss in regular-season play. Finley garnered her second-straight Patriot League Offensive Player-of-the-Year award after setting single-season school records with 45 points and 19 goals. Defensively, Kim Bonafede was among the top three nationally in GAA. Nadia Sheikh was a first-team all star after assuming the school's all-time assist lead in the final game of her career.
In 2003, Navy claimed its first Patriot League Tournament title and became the first Naval Academy women's team in any sport to earn a bid to play in the NCAA Tournament. En route to their 17-5-1 record, the Mids owned the nation's longest regular-season unbeaten streak (35 games) before dropping a one-goal decision to eventual national champion North Carolina. Over 6,500 fans witnessed the game, breaking the NCAA single-game attendance record. Stacy Finley was named First-Team All-Patriot League after becoming the Mids' all-time leader in career scoring, goals scored and shots taken. Classmate Amelia Sheveland garnered Patriot League Tournament MVP recognition, finishing her career as Navy's fourth leading scorer all-time.
The year 2004 was one of rebuilding. Navy dropped its first three league games, but responded by winning four straight. Injuries plagued the Mids in 2005, but for junior Meggie Curran, she finally was healthy and it showed. Curran paced the Patriot League with 32 points (9 g, 14 a).
In 2006, the four-member Class of 2007 began and ended their playing careers at the Academy in much the same fashion, by leading the Mids to the NCAA Tournament. A magical season saw Navy win a school-record 21 games, earn its sixth regular-season league crown, claim its second Patriot League Tournament title, and for the first time, advance to the NCAA's Second Round. Nestled in there was Navy's first win over a nationally-ranked program, a 1-0 victory over ninth-ranked Penn State in front of a standing-room only crowd at the Glenn Warner Soccer Facility. Navy won 19-straight games before losing its regular-season finale by a goal.
The Mids led the nation in GAA (.370), shutout percentage (.790) and save percentage (.918), while setting school records in points (219), goals (70), assists (79), shutouts (19), and GAA (.370). Meggie Curran was named the Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year, while also becoming the program's first All-American. Rookie Shelly Moeller was named the co-defensive player of the year and claimed league tournament MVP kudos while playing in front of sophomore keeper Lizzie Barnes, who led the nation and set Patriot League records for GAA (0.29) en route to earning the league's goalkeeper-of-the-year laurel.
The 2007 squad posted a 14-5-4 record and claimed Navy's second NCAA berth in as many years. Behind offensive juggernaut Brigitte Fox and a stout defense, the Mids peaked at just the right time. Navy closed out the year unbeaten in its final 10 matches to earn its third-ever NCAA nod. Fox garnered first-team all-league recognition for a second-straight year after pacing the conference with 16 goals and 35 points. Senior team captain Kari Weniger closed out a fine career by garnering her second Academic All-America honor.
A balanced attack and smothering defense propelled Navy to a 15-win season in 2008, which included an unbeaten league mark (5-0-2) and the program's seventh regular-season Patriot League title. Navy boasted the league's least scored-upon defense for the third year in a row, led by the Patriot League's Defender and Goalkeeper of the Year in Shelly Moeller and Lizzie Barnes. Barnes concluded her storied career as the Patriot League's all-time GAA leader (0.65) and a two-time First-Team Academic All-American.
Navy earned a fourth-straight berth to the Patriot League Tournament in 2009, posting a 14-5-2 record after racing out to an impressive 8-1-1 start. The squad was nearly unbeatable at home with a 7-1-1 mark at the GWSF, which included a 2-0 win over Army in the Star Game. The Army-Navy rivalry brought 2,627 fans to the facility, a new record. In her first year as a starter, Beth Reed was named Patriot League Goalkeeper of the Year. In addition, Reed was chosen as the CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine Women's Soccer Academic All-American of the Year. Reed became the first Navy student-athlete to receive the top academic honor for one's sport. Classmate Shelly Moeller earned NSCAA/addidas Scholar All-America honors.
The Mids produced their 17th straight winning season in 2010 with a 9-8-3 mark. In 2011, Navy returned to Patriot League Tournament and advanced to its ninth league title game. Navy earned three All-Patriot League selections and Kate Herren and Ashlynn Soellner were both selected to the All-Mid-Atlantic Region Team.
Gabarra earned her third Patriot League Coach of the Year honor after Navy sported a 20-game unbeaten streak en route to a 19-2-1 record in 2012. The Mids won the Patriot League Regular Season title with a 6-0-1 mark but fell in the league title game. Defender Jade Seabrook anchored the Patriot League's top defense and the sophomore became the first Navy player to receive NSCAA All-America honors after being named to the third team. Goalkeeper Elizabeth Hoerner was named to the NSCAA Scholar All-America First Team and was the Patriot League's Goalkeeper of the Year and the Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
Navy recorded its 19th straight winning season in 2013 with a 16-5 mark and 8-1-0 league record to garner its eighth regular-season title. Morgan Dankanich, Jade Seabrook and Elizabeth Hoerner were named Patriot League Offensive, Defensive and Goalkeeper of the Year. Seabrook was also named a Third Team NSCAA All-American for the second consecutive year.
For the 20th consecutive season, the Midshipmen finished with a winning record of 12-4-5 overall and a 6-1-2 league mark. Jade Seabrook was named as the Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year for the third straight season as well as the First Team NSCAA Mid-Atlantic Region . Navy tallied eight players on the all-league squad, which included Rachel Hunter and Seabrook on the first team, Morgan Dankanich, Julie Schumacher and Clare MacAdam on the second and Lexi Ricketts, Dayton Wetherby and Meghan Hegarty on the third team.
Despite a young and inexperienced group, Navy tallied its 21st straight winning season in 2015 with an 11-7-4 mark and a 3-2-4 league record. The Mids earned four honorees to the all-league squad, which included Clare MacAdam (1st), Lexi Ricketts (1st), Lizzy Rullan (2nd) and Dayton Wetherby (3rd). Navy advanced to the Patriot League Semifinals following a 6-0 win over American in the quarterfinals.
In 2016, Mids posted a 9-11-2 mark and a 4-4-1 record in Patriot League play. The latter number helped Navy reach the conference postseason tournament for the 19th time in program history. Always in the fight, eight of the Mids’ 22 games during the campaign went to overtime. In the postseason award announcement, five Mids were honored with Natalie Dzhandzhapanyan (2nd) highlighting the quartet. Rachel Feldman (3rd), Meghan Hegarty (3rd), Clare MacAdam (3rd) and Megan Rogers (3rd) also were recognized.
A Star in the Making
A native of Palos Verdes, Calif., Gabarra graduated from California at Santa Barbara in 1987 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in business management. A standout forward for the Gaucho soccer team, she became the NCAA's all-time leading scorer with 102 goals and 60 assists. She held that post until 1993 when fellow Olympian Mia Hamm broke the record. Gabarra was a four-time All-America honoree and UC-Santa Barbara's Woman Athlete of the Decade in 1987, as well as Scholastic Athlete of the Year. In October of 1991, she was inducted into the UC-Santa Barbara Athletic Hall of Fame. She remains the record holder in every individual offensive category at Santa Barbara -- goals in a game, season and career; assists in a season and career; most points in a season and career; shots in a season and career; and games played in a career.
A standout at Palos Verdes High School, as well, she led the nation in scoring from 1980-83 by netting 226 goals and garnered high school All-America accolades four times.
Gabarra began her coaching career in 1987 as the head coach at Westmont College in Santa Barbara. There she guided the Warriors to a 6-10-0 record. She moved on to Harvard in 1988, serving as an assistant coach.
Pride of the United States
While coaching at Harvard, Gabarra continued competing on the international level where she led the U.S. to its first-ever Women's World Championship (later named Women's World Cup) title in 1991 by scoring six goals and was the recipient of the "Golden Ball," presented to the outstanding player of the championship. She garnered United States Soccer's Female Athlete-of-the-Year honors in 1992, after winning the award for the first time in 1987. She was also tagged the 1987 and '92 United States Olympic Committee Player of the Year. Gabarra recorded 117 international caps from 1987-1996 and scored 53 goals.
Though retired from professional soccer these days, Gabarra was named to the Stars of the Century Team in the summer of 1999. The roll call includes the best 11 players in the history of women's soccer in the United States -- Gabarra, Michelle Akers, Brandi Chastain, Joy Fawcett, Julie Foudy, Mia Hamm, April Heinrichs, Kristine Lilly, Tiffeny Milbrett, Carla Overbeck, and Briana Scurry. Gabarra and her 1996 gold medal-winning teammates were inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame in 2004.
The first U.S. player to be named MVP of the Women's World Cup, Gabarra, along with former New York Cosmos superstar Giorgio Chinaglia, were inducted at a public ceremony on Oct. 28, 2000, at the National Soccer Hall of Fame in Oneonta, N.Y. She was just the second woman player to be inducted, as former World Cup teammate April Heinrichs was the first enshrined in 1998.
In addition to her coaching duties at Navy, Gabarra is active with the Olympic Development Programs that scout prospective national team players and is a member of the U.S. Soccer Athlete Advisory Council. She serves on the Athlete Advisory Board Project 2012 and is a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee Athlete Advisory Council. Gabarra has also served on the U.S. Soccer Technical Committee since 2006 and chairs the U.S. Soccer's Girl's Player Development Task Force. Additionally, Gabarra is a member of the Maryland Physical Fitness Council. She is also an honorary member of Habitat for Humanity: Women Building a Legacy. She was recently named to the National Soccer Hall of Fame's Eligibility & Awards Working Committee. Gabarra is also an active member of the Washington, DC-based Athletes for Hope foundation.
In 2011, Gabarra joined Dr. Jill Biden and Chelsea Clinton on the official U.S. Delegation on Air Force Two to the Women's World Cup Final in Germany. In 2012, Gabarra received the United States Sports Academy's Distinguished Service Award.
In 1992, the former Carin Jennings married Jim Gabarra. No stranger to the soccer world, Jim was a member of the U.S. National Team from 1986-89, earning 14 caps, and played for the Olympic Team in `88. A former captain of the U.S. Indoor National Team, he competed in the '89, '92 and `96 Futbal World Championships. Jim was the head coach for the Washington Freedom from 2000-2010 and led the franchise to a WUSA Championship in `03. Jim is currently the head coach and general manager of Washington Spirit of the National Women’s Soccer League. The couple resides in Arnold with their daughters, Abigail (18) and Talia (16), while their son, Tyler (20), is currently enrolled at North Carolina State and is on the men's soccer team.
• 2013, 2006, 1996 Patriot League Coach of the Year
• 2003 U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame (1996 team)
• 2003 American Youth Soccer Organization Hall of Fame
• 2001 National Soccer Medal of Honor
• 2000 National Soccer Hall of Fame
• Stars of the Century Team
• 1996 Olympic Games Gold Medalist
• 1987, '92 United States Soccer Female Athlete of the Year
• 1987, '92 United States Olympic Committee Player of the Year
• 1991 World Cup Champion
• 1991 World Cup Golden Ball recipient
• Four-time Collegiate All-American
• UCSB's all-time leading scorer
• UCSB Woman Athlete of the Decade
• UCSB Hall of Fame