Alison Ahern
Courtesy: Columbia University Athletics

Alison “Ali” Ahearn was the bedrock of the Columbia women’s soccer team in the late 1990s. One of the top goalkeepers in school history, Ahern made her mark as a first-year player. In 1996, she backstopped the Lions to 12 victories and eight shutouts, both school records. For her efforts, she was named honorable mention All-Ivy League.

Over the course of her career in net for the Lions, Ahern would record one of the most dynamic careers of any Columbia goalkeeper – male or female.
Ahern established Columbia women’s soccer records that have yet to be broken in goals against average (1.05), shutouts (25), minutes played by a goalkeeper and total saves (288).

Her goals against average of 0.59 in 1998 ranked eighth in the nation and helped the Lions to a third-place finish in the Ivy League – the best ever in the history of the program to that point.

More importantly, she was a teammate who was beloved and respected by her peers, who elected her as captain as a senior.

Ahern tragically passed away in an accident on June 9, 2002 in Belgium at the age of 24. But her memory lives on in the lives of her teammates and those who saw her outstanding play in goal.

In honor of her contributions, and in recognition of her all-too-short life, the Columbia women’s soccer Team MVP award has been named in her honor.