McGahey finds enjoyment with TOPSoccer program
Central Michigan soccer head coach Peter McGahey worked day in and day out this season to get the team prepared and ready for each opponent ahead of them. The team came up short, losing in the Mid-American Conference Semifinals to Kent State.
However, McGahey doesn’t only coach a Division I women’s soccer program; he also helps coach the Midland Fusion, a TOPSoccer team.
TOPSoccer, or The Outreach Program for Soccer, is a community-based training and team placement program for young athletes with disabilities. These teams are organized by youth soccer association volunteers.
The program, according to USYouthSoccer.org, is “designed to bring the opportunity of learning and playing soccer to any boy or girl who has a mental or physical disability.”
Its goal is to enable the thousands of young athletes with disabilities to become valued and successful members of the US Youth Soccer family.
The Fusion is a part of the Midland Soccer Club, which was founded in 1977, and the players met with the coaches every Tuesday for one hour throughout the fall, starting on Sept. 13 and ending on Oct. 11. According to its Twitter page, they “promote sportsmanship, knowledge and skills that go along with the game.”
People of all ages are welcome to participate with the Fusion. There are programs that are for children under four years old, ranging all the way to 30 years old and above. There are boys, girls and co-ed leagues that run during the summer and fall.
“It’s a way for me to be reminded of the pure joys of the game,” McGahey said. “It’s not like we have games our tournaments. I help set up the activities and work with the players and create a positive, welcoming environment for those players.”
McGahey has been with the Fusion since 2013, when he was hired at CMU.
“It’s something near and dear to (McGahey’s) heart. He loves to give back to the kids,” said Midland Soccer Club Technical Director George Hageage. “We definitely value Peter’s involvement. He does such a great job. And when he isn’t able to help out, his wife Dawn helps out, so they do such a great job.”
Midland isn’t the only TOPSoccer program McGahey has associated himself with. From 2008-2013 when he was the head coach of the women’s soccer team at Minnesota State University, McGahey was a part of the Mankato United Soccer Club. He did the same thing in Colorado and Oklahoma during his time in those states.
Even with having a full-time coaching job at CMU, McGahey said he had no issues trying to balance his work and volunteer life.
“I think the game has been really good to me, so it’s a place where I feel I can give back to other people,” he said. “I can enjoy the game and learn alongside them. The hour you go spend with the TOP kids is the best of the week. It’s pure, it’s sincere. Everyone has a way to give back, and that happens to be mine.”
Whether the volunteering was in Minnesota or Michigan, Hageage has taken notice to McGahey’s efforts with the Midland Fusion.
“He is a great ambassador of the sport, so having him with us is a great thing for the community,” he said. “To have Peter involved is awesome. We are a full service club and want to provide opportunities to all the kids, and his help has been tremendous in doing that.”