Although the college did not join an intercollegiate conference until 2004, a CIA soccer team did compete against other area colleges as far back as the mid-1970s. Soccer was one of the flagship programs when the CIA joined the HVMAC, with Serge Nalywayko serving as the coach in 2004 and 2005 before Mike Murphy took over in ’06.
From 2006 through 2009, the soccer team has either shared or won outright the regular season or post-season championship tournament titles. In 2006, the team finished in second place during the season but came on strong and won the championship tournament over Mount St. Vincent.
In 2007, the team—led by captains Mesrob Yurgatian and Ryan Clark—captured both the regular season and championship tournament titles, beating Mount Saint Vincent College 3-0 in the final at the college’s Hyde Park campus. The CIA Steels finished the season with an impressive 7-0-1 record.
In 2008, under co-captains Austin Asadorian and Seth Parsons, the winning ways continued as the team battled their way back to the championship game, finishing the regular season in first place with a 3-1 conference record and an overall record of 6-4-1. In the final, again hosted at the CIA, the Steels fell in a hard-fought game to Albany College of Pharmacy, 1-0.
Coach Murphy had nothing but praise as the 2009 season approached. “The quality student-athletes we have on this team are outstanding, maybe the best I’ve ever had,” he said. “They succeed academically and my hope is that they will come together as a team to succeed on the field as well. I have every expectation that will be the case.”
And it was the case. The CIA Steels finished the season with an 8-2-1 record and won the regular season conference championship for the third year in a row. The team then made it to the conference semifinals, where the Steels and Berkeley College played through two overtimes before the CIA was eliminated 2-1 in a shootout. It was a very exciting game that was decided on penalty kicks, where Berkeley tallied 3 goals to the Steels 2.
2010 saw the departure of graduates and team leaders Austin Asadorian, Seth Parsons and Kellen Hamarah. The team, however, saw the return of junior defenseman Derek Surges as well as top offensive players Corey Ferguson and Pierre Mieweson. Though the team started off slowly, losing its first three games, momentum was gained as the team won 6 of its last 7 regular season games, earning the fourth seed for the conference post-season tournament. The Steels bowed out in the semi-finals for the second year in a row, losing to top seed Albany College of Pharmacy 4-0.
Our 2011 season was very successful. The team finished the regular season in third place in the conference with an overall record of 8-3. In post-season play, the third-seeded Steels upset second-ranked Berkeley College to win 2-0 in the semifinals.
With the conference finals taking place at the CIA’s home field, the team had a crowd of more than 400 students, faculty, and staff cheering them on to continue their upset streak against the undefeated top seed Albany College of Pharmacy (ACP). At the end of both regulation and overtime, the teams were locked at 1-1. The championship entered a penalty kick period, during which ACP went on to win on the seventh kick. “I could not have been more proud of the effort my team put out on the field today,” stated CIA Coach Murphy. “It was the best and most exciting soccer contest in the program’s history!”
2012 saw the return of key players Pierre Mewissen and Rob Chambers, seniors and co-captains for the Steels. With their leadership, the team had a strong campaign despite two tough losses to archrivals Berkeley College and Albany College of Pharmacy during the regular season. Once again, the team entered the postseason tournament as the number three seed, and visited Berkeley in the semifinals on Saturday, October 27. It was a hard-fought game, but the Steels went down in a 2-1 defeat in double OT, finishing their season. Berkely went on to defeat ACP in the finals to capture the championship.
“The group of guys on my 2012 team really came together,” said Coach Mike Murphy. “We battled through a lot of injuries through the season, and had to move players out of their natural positions sometimes, but we were still successful. It was very rewarding leading this group of quality young men through the season.”
For the 2013 season, the college hired a new soccer coach, as Mike Murphy was asked to lead the cross country program after the departure of coach Lowell Fisher. In stepped Chris Lyn, who brought a strong collegiate playing and coaching background to the Steels.
The team, led by third-year captains Vinnie Losetto and Anthony Attanaisio, started the season strong, winning four of the first five games. With a strong combination of newcomers and veteran players, the Steels continued their fine play under Coach Lyn’s direction, finishing the regular season with a 9-4-1 record overall and a 5-2 conference mark. In the conference tournament semifinals, the team entered as the third seed and battled long-time nemesis Albany College of Pharmacy to a dead heat for nearly the entire game. But with 12 seconds remaining, ACP scored on a long cross and header, defeating the Steels 1-0 and ending their season.
“For my first season here at the CIA, I could not have been more impressed with the quality of young men on this team,” Coach Lyn said. “We had some ups and downs through the season, and they reacted and came together well under my style of play and coaching. I am sure our two tough loses to ACP at the end of the season will be a springboard to further team accomplishments in 2014.”
2014 indeed did bring more accomplishments, as the CIA team won its first regular season conference championship since 2008 with a 5-1 conference record. Going into the semifinals of the conference tournament, the Steels hosted the fourth-seeded Berkeley College squad that they had beaten in the regular season. Two wins over the same team within the same season proved too tough, as the CIA lost in penalty kicks in a tough match in front of a great home crowd. The team finished with an 8-4-2 overall record.
In 2015, Jim Sanborn took the reins of the program as head coach. The Steels had lost many key players to graduation, and finished in fifth place. But the players were working well together by the end of the season, and the team won three of its last four games.
2016 brought another fifth-place finish in the conference, with an overall record of 5-10—but once again the team finished strong, with a 3-1 mark over the last four games.