Recognized as one of the most successful coaches in NCAA women's soccer history, Gabe Mejaíl concluded his 32nd season at the helm of the Merrimack women's soccer program in 2015.
The only head coach that the program has ever known, Mejaíl has enjoyed a long and decorated career – now entering his fourth decade with the Warriors – and has guided the program from its inception in 1984 into the perennial regional and national contender that it is today.
Mejaíl's milestones are plentiful, but the most notable include his being the winningest coach (total victories) in NCAA Division II women's soccer coaching history, as well as ranking fifth all-time in NCAA women's soccer coaching history (all Divisions), and 19th all-time in win percentage at the Division II level.
An orchestrator of one of the most consistent programs across the country, Mejaíl has led the Warriors to eight Northeast-10 Conference regular season championships, six NE-10 Tournament titles, two ECAC titles and 11 trips to the NCAA Tournament – including an appearance in the Elite Eight in 1996 – while compiling a record at Merrimack of 425-172-45 (.697).
Mejaíl recorded his 400th career victory as a head coach on Sept. 10, 2010, as the Warriors downed Adelphi in North Andover. Then, on Oct. 1, 2011, Warrior Field was renamed Martone-Mejaíl Field, honoring Mejaíl and long-time coaching colleague Tony Martone, the head coach of the Merrimack College men's soccer team.
Mejail and the Warriors put together another quality fall season in 2015, posting a 12-6-2 record, the 30th of 32 season with double-digit wins. The Warriors made the conference playoffs for the 30th time in 31 years and advancing to the Northeast-10 Semifinals for the 25th time, the most in the conference. It also marked the 31st winning season in 32 under Mejail, the most in the history of Division II. After a dramatic overtime win in the NE-10 Quarterfinals at Southern N.H., the Warriors fell at Adelphi in the semifinals in double-overtime and just missed out on an at-large NCAA berth. The team also participated in the ECAC tournament at the end of the year, falling in the semifinals to Post.
Mejail coached three different Warriors to all-conference selections in 2015, including Jenna Savi to the first team. Savi also earned CoSIDA Academic All-District Team, DII CCA All-East Region Team, and NSCAA All-East Region Second Team honors in her fourth and final season under Mejail.
2014 saw the Warriors miss the Northeast-10 Championship for the first time since the league has been in existence, snapping a 29-season streak, and extremely impressive feats for one of the top programs in all of Division II. The Navy and Gold have still made 24 trips to the conference semifinals, the most of any program in the league. The Warriors finished the season with a 7-9-2 overall record, as a team blended with youth and veteran experienced battled tough through the year. Mejail oversaw two players, Megan Gada and Jenna Savi, who were recognized as CoSIDA Academic All-District selections.
The 2013 campaign, despite failing to reach the team's ultimate goal of a berth in the NCAA Tournament, was another example of Mejaíl's coaching brilliance. Despite overseeing a team ravaged by injuries over the course of the season, Mejaíl orchestrated another tremendous season and benefitted from one of the most resilient groups he had coached in recent years.
Merrimack posted a 10-6-2 overall record in a campaign that included the program's 29th consecutive appearance in the Northeast-10 Conference Tournament, earning the No. 4 seed in the eight-team NE-10 Championship. The Warriors were the only team to qualify for the conference tournament in all 29 seasons since the league's inception; Merrimack has also reached the league tournament's semifinal round 25 times, the most among all league schools.
As a team, Merrimack extended its NCAA-Division II record with its 30th consecutive winning season in 2013. The Warriors' top-four finish in the league standings also marked the 28th time in 29 NE-10 seasons that they finished fourth or better, a mark that is also a league record. The most prestigious new milestone reached in 2012 came in early October. After the Warriors picked up a 3-1 victory over Saint Anselm on their home turf, the program earned its 400th win, the most for any single school in all of Division II. By this season's end, that win total reached 413, and the Warriors will continue to add to that record total in 2014.
Mejaíl has overseen the development of 79 all-conference performers, the most of any NE-10 team, and 23 of his players have earned All-America honors including (class): Danielle Dion '14, Jessica Peacock '12, Gabrielle Gramprey '10, Caitlin Hall '09, Heather Macedo '08, Hillary McGarr '08, Lindsay Sheffield '06, Laurie Lamoureux '05, Patty Cronin '03, Rachel McCarthy '02, Alison Skoglund '02, Annmarie Yutkins '02, Lisa Jensen '00, Sue Cookson '00, Jen Kusz '97, Danielle Ouellette '97, Kathryn Barkman '96, Jessica Lanzo '96, Nancy Daly '95, Bethann O'Leary '91, Beth Licopoli '90, Sue Plante '90 and Michelle Muise '88.
The Warriors' play within the NE-10 has been nothing short of dominant, as Merrimack stands at 253-80-26 (.740) in league play since 1985. Over that same time, Mejaíl has coached his club to six Northeast-10 tournament titles, eight Northeast-10 regular season crowns, 11 appearances in the ECAC tournament – including the 1988 and 2000 championships – and 11 appearances in the NCAA Tournament.
Along with the victories and championships have come the coaching accolades for Mejaíl. He was named the Northeast-10 Coach of the Year on eight occasions: 1985, 1986, 1987, 1989, 1993, 1996, 2003 and 2008. In addition, he was named the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Regional and New England Women's Intercollegiate Soccer Association (NEWISA) Coach of the Year in 1986, 1989, 1993, 1996, 2002 and 2003 and the National Collegiate Coach of the Year in 1996. Mejaíl also received NEWISA's Service Award in 1992. Mejaíl started his coaching career at Wheaton College, coaching there from 1979 to 1982.
Born and raised in Argentina, Mejaíl moved to the United States in 1969, gaining citizenship in 1974. He studied urban planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.) and earned his degree in 1978. He earned his master's degree in education from Harvard University in 1989 and now teaches at Buckingham Browne and Nichols School in Cambridge, Mass.
Mejaíl and his family reside in Reading, Mass. His twin sons Matthew and Jonathan are in middle school, while his daughter Emily is currently a student at Merrimack.