Laurel resident winds up career seeking national title

Tiffany McCarty, who grew up in Laurel, has played soccer in Spain, Germany, Argentina and Guatemala as a member of the U.S. national program during the past few years.

But the world has also come to know McCarty during a standout career at Division I Florida State University.

This season the Seminoles' roster includes two players each from France and Iceland and one from Germany, England, Japan and Australia.

"I think it is a big cultural experience," said redshirt senior forward McCarty, an All-American at Florida State who was a standout at St. John's in Washington, D.C.

"A lot of us have learned a few words of different languages. It does give you a different perspective."

The 5-foot-4 McCarty, who attended Eisenhower Middle School, has been a roommate on road trips with one of her French teammates.

So it is hard to mesh different styles of play?

"It just adds a different element to the team. I would not say it is difficult," she said. "We have some Japanese flavor, some French flavor."

Those flavors have added up to a winning recipe this season for Florida State, which has been ranked No. 1 in the country for much of the campaign.

The Seminoles were the No. 1 seed for the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament (Maryland was No. 2) and defeated Boston College, 4-1.

McCarty had two goals in the win over the Eagles.

The semifinals and finals of the ACC tourney will be held Nov. 2 and 4 in Cary, N.C.

Florida State was 15-2 in regular-season games.

"We were fortunate to get the No. 1 seed," said McCarty, who had the game-winning goal when Florida State won at Maryland, 1-0, in late October. "It is one and done (in the tourney). We have to prepare for every team."

"Every team that is or was No. 1 at some point, everyone wants to knock you off," she added.

And that happened Oct. 25 as the Seminoles ended regular-season play with a 1-0 loss at ACC rival Miami in a night game.

"We have to forget about it and move on," she said. "We know what kind of team we are and what kind of team we bring to the table."

McCarty, whose team is a lock for the NCAA tourney later in November, is winding down a stellar career at Florida State.

She was the ACC Freshman of the Year in 2008, the ACC Offensive Player of the Year in 2009 and was a semifinalist for the MAC Hermann Trophy in 2009 and 2011 in honor of the best player in the country.

She scored 11 goals as a freshman in 2008, 17 as a sophomore in 2009 and then scored 18 goals with six assists last year after she missed the 2010 season due to health reasons.

McCarty graduated last year with a degree in psychology and is now taking graduate school classes at FSU in sports management.

"Tiffany has been as important of a player we have had at Florida State," said Mark Krikorian, the head coach since 2005. "She is among the best we have ever had. She came in as a scorer but has added a lot of things to her play. She has had a fantastic career. She is a great, silent leader. We are going to miss her."

McCarty played club soccer for the Freestate Shooters and was part of a national title team with them in 2007.

At St. John's she had 191 goals and 74 assists and led the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference in scoring four years in a row as the Cadets won three league titles.

She has been part of a program that is ranked nationally on an annual basis. Does she have any favorite memories?

"The one that stands out the most is when we beat North Carolina my sophomore year. That was a pretty big game for us. I remember being pretty excited," she said.

Last year the team advanced to the Final Four before losing in the semifinals to Stanford 3-0.

"The thing I am most proud of is going to the Final Four," she said of the 2011 season. "It was a good experience for us even though we lost."

McCarty is interested in being a social worker and working with children but also has her eyes on a professional soccer career.

She has former college teammates playing in Australia, Sweden and Belgium but would prefer to play in a North American league if possible. "I hope I can continue to play the sport," she said.

But first she hopes to get back to the Final Four. "When you get older your role kind of changes," she said. "When I first got here I was a 17-year-old freshman just trying to get on the team. Now I am a fifth-year senior with a lot of experience."

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