Laura and Jim Moynihan built Keeper Goals together. Somehow in addition to running a business and raising 4 kids Laura managed to build the foundation for girls soccer in Wisconsin.How did a ballet and tap dancer end up the most inﬂuential woman in the history of Wisconsin girl’s soccer?
It started in the mid 1970’s in Wauwatosa, WI. Grandma Bak, (Laura’s mom), asked Sue, (Laura’s daughter), what she wanted to be when she grew up. Sue answered, “A professional soccer player.” Grandma Bak responded, “Susie, there’s no such thing as a professional women’s soccer player.” Injustice flowing from her eyes Sue went straight to her mom. After all her mom said, “She could be anything she wanted.” In the 1970’s there was no such thing as a women’s professional soccer player; in fact, in Wisconsin there weren’t even girls’ soccer teams. It was time for Laura, the tap dancer, to do a nice soft shoe on soccer’s male establishment. One year later Laura spearheaded Wisconsin’s first girls’ league and organized two teams in the Tosa Kickers. She was just getting started.
When Laura went to watch her sons play ODP she was disheartened to see that several of the states brought girls teams, but not Wisconsin. It was time for Laura, the ballet dancer, to do a nice roundhouse pirouette to soccer’s male establishment, and with the help of others, establish girls ODP in Wisconsin.
Laura’s teams won state championships, were nationally competitive, gave a few girls opportunities with the Youth National Team, and sent over 40 players onto college soccer. In 1990 UW-Milwaukee named her the Head Women’s Soccer Coach.
In 1992, Mrs. Mo passed away due to cancer. For many years the U17 Girls USYSA National Championship was named in her honor. The soccer field at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee is named in her honor. She is a member of the Wisconsin Soccer Hall of Fame and The Wisconsin Soccer Coaches Hall of Fame.
The accolades, though, don’t adequately tell Laura’s story. Maureen Moynihan found the senior pictures and hand-written notes Laura’s players gave to her mom. The notes held the same sentiment; “You were always there for me.” Cheri Skibski Stoka received self-addressed stamped envelopes from Mrs. Mo so they could communicate when Cheri went to college. Chandra Konkol Comiskey said Mrs. Mo was the first adult, besides her parents, who said she believed in her, a message that influenced her approach to the game and to life. Cat Caruso remembers visiting Mrs. Mo at the hospital a week before she passed away. Cat waited until other visitors left the room and it was just the two of them. Mrs. Mo looked up and said, “What’s wrong Cat?” “How did you know?” she responded. “I could see it in your eyes.” Mrs. Mo was counseling her players in her final days. Every Wisconsin woman and little girl who puts on a pair of cleats, from the U6 rec fields to the US National team, can trace their lineage to the work of Laura Moynihan.
And what a gift it is to the state of Wisconsin and Tosa soccer that Laura’s legacy of leading by serving, investing in the individual, teamwork and absolute selflessness is the legacy being passed on and growing??
by her former colleagues, friends, players and family. – Written 2014
View Laura Moynihan’s Hall of Fame Induction Speech from 2013 – Delivered by Rob Harrington: