Penn Athletics will be inducting its Hall of Fame Class VIII this Saturday, May 5 at the Inn at Penn. As we prepare for the upcoming ceremony, we will be introducing each inductee over the next several days. Click here to find the original release on all the inductees, from February 22.
A three-time men's soccer letterwinner who served as team captain in 1977, Paul Toomey came to Penn as a high school All-America forward, but became a stalwart on defense during his time on the pitch for the Quakers.
After scoring two goals-including the game-winner in a 1-0 win at Dartmouth in 1974-Toomey made a name for himself in 1976 when he defended his way to being named Penn's Most Valuable Player. Not just one of the best players on the Red and Blue that season, Toomey was named first-team All-Ivy and recognized as an honorable mention All-America.
The 1976 season, it turned out, was just a sign of things to come. Toomey anchored the Quakers to an 8-5-2 record in 1977 and a trip to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1973. Again named his team's MVP and first-team All-Ivy, Toomey was recognized as one of the best defenders in the country with his selection as a second-team All-America, and he was a finalist for the Hermann Trophy which is given to college soccer's top player. Toomey also played in the 1977 Soccer Senior Bowl and was on the U.S. Olympic Development Team in 1977 and 1978.
At the conclusion of his collegiate career, Toomey was selected in the first round of the 1978 North American Soccer League (NASL) draft by the Portland Timbers. In addition to his time with the Timbers, Toomey also played for the San Jose Earthquakes, as well as the New England Sharks of the American Soccer League.
When the season turned to indoor, Toomey played professionally with the Hartford Hellions of the Major Indoor Soccer League from 1979-81 where he scored seven goals before finishing his career with the MISL's Pittsburgh Spirit from 1981-84 where he scored 10 goals. Toomey was named to the 1980 MISL All-Star team, finished his professional career with 211 games played and 19 goals scored, and he was inducted into the Connecticut Soccer Hall of Fame last year.
"To this day, I vividly recall my recruiting visit to Penn. Beautiful spring day, walking from 30th Street directly over to Franklin Field, greeted by Coach Seddon, immediately invited to join a great pickup game that lasted for at least two hours. Doubleheader at The Palestra, dinner at Pagano's, indoor game in the basement of Hill House until 2 or 3 in the morning. What a fantastic vibe and, to be honest, the reason I ended up coming to Penn. I'm so grateful for having had the opportunity to attend such a superb University and compete in the Ivy League. In my opinion, the Ivy League is in many respects the most competitive arena in college sports, and an ideal place to develop as an athlete, as a student, and as a person. Upon graduation I was well-suited to pursue an albeit modest career in soccer, and when that came to an end-like all athletes from Penn-I was well-equipped to handle life after sports. I'm also thankful for this induction into the Penn Athletics Hall of Fame and honored to join accomplished athletes from different eras and a variety of sports. We all have at least two things in common: A high level of achievement, and indebtedness to a great University. Thank you."