Sean Kenny becomes the 12th men’s soccer player to be inducted into the Keene State Alumni Athletic Hall of Fame. Although the Dublin native played just two seasons and 32 games for the Owls, there’s no question he left an imprint on the program as a skilled midfielder and leader.
“Sean led by example,” said KSC Coach Ron Butcher. “He commanded the respect of his teammates and held all of his teammates accountable. Everybody who played against him remarked he was always one of the toughest players to go up against because he was so physical and strong and yet had the ability to go forward and help out offensively. “
Kenny was destined to excel on the soccer field. His dad played the sport as well as eight soccer mad brothers, including two that played professionally.
Playing soccer while on vacation in New York, Kenny caught the eye of Joe Yasinac, the coach at Westchester Community College. Yasinac convinced Kenny to enroll at WCC where he was a two-time All-American. Kenny also played on a club team with Ian Wilson ‘86, a KSC Hall of Fame member, who convinced him to take his soccer talents to Keene State. “After speaking with Coach Butcher, I knew I made the right choice,” Kenny said.
“Playing for Keene State was as close to professional as I was going to get,” said Kenny. “Our game field was superb, we got great support at our games, and Coach Butcher just wanted to win.”
Kenny’s freshman team in 1983 posted a 14-3-3 record and finished third and 10th respectively in New England and National polls. Because of wet weather the team was forced to play its NCAA game at the University of New Haven and ended up having its NCAA Championship hopes dashed with a tough 2-1 loss.
Looking forward to his senior season, Kenny, who was named captain, suffered an injury before the Owls’ opener and missed several games. “Everybody looked at him to run the show, so when he was out it really affected the team,” said Butcher. “Sean always set the tone in practice and in games and you always need those types of leaders on the field. The team always rallied around him.”
“I hope I gained the respect of my teammates by working hard both on and off the field,” said Kenny, a two-time All-New England and All-American player for the Owls. “I hated to lose and talked a lot on the field.”
Kenny’s comments would sometimes get him in trouble, going after an opponent who made fun of the team’s Owl logo and having arguments with the men in black. “After a few yellow cards, Coach Butcher gave me a tongue lashing I will never forget,” Kenny recalls. “I think it made me a better player.”
Kenny, who tallied a combined seven goals and 13 assists in his brief Owl career, graduated in 1985 with an arts degree in electronics. “Back then computers was the size of gymnasiums, but I learned to program them,” he said.
Soccer is still a huge part of his life. In addition to playing in semi-pro and over-40 leagues in New York, Kenny also is the coaching director of FC Westchester. Owner of a small computer cabling company, Kenny currently resides in Mount Vernon, New York with his wife Lisa and children Brian, Nina, and Sean.
“Receiving the hall of fame honor is huge for me,” Kenny said. “Not many people remember my college playing days except for a few old Keene State guys. It’s wonderful that I made an impression.”
Sean Kenny was a two year player, a transfer from Westchester Community College. The best way to describe Sean he was a leader by example. He commanded the respect of his teammates. He held all of his teammates accountable.
Everybody who played against him was always remarked he was always one of the toughest players to play against because he was so physical and strong and yet had the ability to go forward. When he got hurt and missed him for five games with a pulled hamstring it really hurt our team. When he got back in full form it was a whole new ray of life for the entire team because everybody looked at him to run the show. Sean always set the tone in practice and in games by example and you always need that type of leader on the field and when they always rallied around him. He could always score the big goal.