All in the family

Like his father before him, McCully has begun his career as an Owl

Puja Thapa / administrative executive editor

Claire Boughton

Senior Sports Reporter

Has anyone ever been destined to kick a ball?

For James McCully the answer to that question came with his first word:


Soccer has been in James McCully’s DNA since before he was born. With his grandfather having played professionally in Scotland and his father being a three-time All-American and All-New England selection, there’s no surprise that McCully holds an impressive record in the sport.

McCully’s success began to show during his time at Nauset Regional High School where he was coached by his father who also attended the school in the late 1970s. During his high school career, James McCully received All-American honors during his senior year, set a new all-time record of 97 goals, and was named the Atlantic Coast League Player of the Year.

McCully redshirted at the University of New Hampshire his first -year before deciding to transfer to his father’s alma mater Keene State College, where he had been attending summer training camps for the past six years.

“I was looking for a better balance soccer-wise and academically,” McCully said when asked about his reasoning behind making the move. “Division One soccer… with all my classes was near impossible.”

But what is it like to have a player come to a school where his name holds so much of a legacy already?

“He’s going to make his own way here,” Rick Scott, head coach of the men’s soccer team at Keene State, responded when asked that very question. “[James] realizes his father’s legacy here and he respects it, but he’s ready to carve his own.”

McCully shared a similar response when asked about his father’s success and any pressure that might hold. “I could care less what he did in college to be honest,” chuckled McCully. “It was… the same thing in high school… all of high school I was chasing after his goal record and stuff, so I’m kind of used to it now.”

Although McCully has only had a handful of weeks with the Keene State Owls so far, he is already making big moves on the field, both in games and in practice.

“[James is a] very nice addition, both as a person and a player,” Scott said when asked about McCully’s part on the team so far. “He gives us a dimension we were missing… [he] sees the game and reads the game very well.”

Noah Spaulding, a first-year midfielder on the team, had only good things to say about McCully.  “[James] leads by example. You never have to worry about James getting on you for a mistake you make,” Spaulding said. “You always know what you’re going to get from McCully. He does everything that’s asked of him and then some.”

Spaulding assisted McCully in scoring the only goal of the game in the Owls’ home-opener against Tufts this past Wednesday on September 11.

“Individually, I would love it if I got 15 goals and ten assists this year,” McCully said when asked about his plans for this season. “As a team I really think that we can win the Little East Conference this year and then hopefully make a run in the tournament.”

The Keene State men’s soccer team’s next home game will be against Rhode Island College on September 21, start time 3. Show up and show your support!

Claire Boughton can be contacted at

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