GOLDEN JOB. Kevin Hassett '02 was a standout member of the men's tennis team while attending Western New England College. He is now the new communications manager for the Boston Breakers of Women's Professional Soccer. --- Photo courtesy of the Boston Breakers
BOSTON, Mass. – Kevin Hassett didn’t play soccer in high school or college, but it’s his favorite sport.
And now the 2002 Western New England College graduate is around some of the best players in the world as the new communications manager for the Boston Breakers of Women’s Professional Soccer.
Hassett joined the Breakers' staff last September after serving as the athletic media relations coordinator/webmaster at Florida International University for five years.
A native of Pembroke, Massachusetts, Hassett is responsible for all the media relations, community service, Internet, and social media initiatives for the Breakers.
Boston opened its season in April and now has a 3-3-2 record heading into a home match on Sunday, June 14 against the St. Louis Athletica.
There are seven teams in the league with each squad playing 20 matches. The playoffs are slated to begin in August.
Hassett had a busy fall and spring handling all the media activities for the team who play their home contests at Harvard University.
The site is working well as Boston is averaging over 6,000 fans a game, with a season high of 8,000 for a match against the Los Angeles Sol.
“It’s good to be back with the Breakers, a team that I interned with while I was a senior at WNEC when they were a part of the now defunct Women’s United Soccer Association,” said Hassett.
“Both my immediate boss as well as the team’s president/general manager were with the team during the WUSA days, as were two of our players, Kristine Lilly and Angela Hucles, so there is some familiarity there. I have a strong passion for the game and am both proud and thrilled to be part of the rebirth of professional women’s soccer in this country,” commented Hassett.
The head coach of the Breakers’ is Tony DiCicco who is one of the most recognizable names in women’s soccer.
He coached the U.S Women’s National team for six years guiding the USA to the 1996 Olympic Gold Medal and the historic 1999 World Cup Championship over China, which was played in front of the largest crowd in women’s sports history (90,185 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California).
And then there are the players.
Lilly, a three-time Olympian, is the second all-time leading scorer in US and world history with 361 points (129 goals, 103 assists) entering the 2009 season. She led the United States to gold medals in 1996 and 2004, and the silver medal in 2000.
Hucles played every minute in all six matches in helping the United States win the gold medal in the Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, China last summer.
The Breakers have another top player in England native Kelly Smith who was a finalist for FIF Women’s World Player-of-the-Year in 2006 and 2008.
“Coach DiCicco is a living legend in women’s soccer and it is a thrill to work with him,” Hassett stated. “Sometimes high-profile athletes and coaches get a bad rap for their egos and personalities, yet I have never seen that with Tony or any of the players. It’s very refreshing.”
While at Western New England College, Hassett earned his bachelor’s degree in International Business. He was the recipient of the school’s Alumni Association Skookum Award for excellence.
Hassett was a standout member of the Golden Bears’ men’s tennis squad for four seasons and a three-time Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Academic Team honoree.
He captured the No. 6 singles title at the conference tournament as a junior and teamed with Dave Stelmach to win the No. 3 doubles crown as a senior in helping the Golden Bears claim the program’s first GNAC championship.
Off the court, Hassett worked as a student assistant in the Western New England College athletic communications office and was the media relations’ contact for the men and women’s soccer programs in addition to coordinating statistics at the men and women’s basketball games.
Hassett, who also served as the sports editor for the campus newspaper The Westerner, was the first student at the College to receive the Athletic Department’s Media Award.
After graduation, Hassett spent parts of two years in his first stint with the Breakers, working as an intern and then as a volunteer in the Media Relations Department.
Hassett spent the 2002-03 school year working as the Asa S. Bushnell Intern at the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) covering Division I Men’s Hockey.
From there he moved to Florida International University where he was the primary contact for the Golden Panthers' Division I women’s basketball, men and women’s soccer, men and women’s track and field, and women’s volleyball programs.
Hassett also coordinated press operations for over 20 tournaments over a five-year span and implemented and directed live video webcasts of athletic contests, in addition to archived video on the website.
Attending Western New England College gave Hassett the confidence and experience to make a successful career in the sports industry.
“Because of my experiences at the College, I have never been unprepared for anything I have encountered in the real world,” he noted. “The things I learned from professors and administrators, plus the day-to-day responsibilities I had between class, athletics, and clubs, all while balancing that with enjoying the college social life, really caught up to speed with the pace of life in the real world.”
Despite his busy schedule, Hassett continues to maintain close ties with his college friends.
“I still stay in touch with a lot of classmates and teammates, many of whom I consider my closest friends,” he stated.
“If you really take advantage of the many opportunities to grow as a person while at WNEC, whether it is on the athletic fields, working on group projects for class or taking leadership positions within the various clubs and organizations, you form a bond with those that went through the challenges as you. Those bonds last a long time.”