A Soccer Life: Pat Maguire
Pat Maguire is a nationally licensed coach by the NSCAA. He’s attended the Academy of West Ham United in England and received a diploma for completion of their coaching program. But Pat's greatest success, as a coach, is the development of the Maguire Training Method. He has implemented and perfected the Maguire Method in coaching Evolution FC Soccer teams. His training and method has proven to produce elite players. He is presently the Director of Coaching for the SF Glens Evolution Micro Academy.
Coach Pat Maguire's love for soccer began in the early 1970's in San Francisco. His father, John Maguire, regularly took him to watch and support the San Francisco Glens' premiere level team. Pat, along with his father, his brothers and sisters would take the bus or be driven to Balboa Stadium, by coach Neil Hagen, after church. Pat soon became a fanatic of the Glens, passionately supporting them both at home and on the road. He knew all the players names and their numbers. He knew how they played, whether they were right or left footed, and what were their typical positions. He knew who was fast or slow, who passed well and who scored clutch goals. One of the first songs Pat ever knew was "It's a Grand Old Team to Play For”—the Glasgow Celtic fight song adopted by the SF Glens. The magical experience of the SF Glens instilled such a love for soccer in Pat that he began to play at five years old. He grew up playing for the SF Celtic Youth Team, so naturally his favorite teams were the SF Glens and the Glasgow Celtics. There was not a lot of televised soccer during this era, so he looked forward to Sundays with great anticipation.
Pat can still recall the sadness he felt when the coach, Neil Hagen, passed away from a massive heart attack on the field, as he was coaching the Glens' practice. Neil was a good friend of Pat's father and it was the first time and possibly the only time he witnessed his dad cry. Shortly after Neil death, Pat's father was diagnosed with cancer. He soon passed away, leaving Pat's mother widowed with seven young children. Pat recalls the night his father died, when John said that "Neil Hagen and Joe Kearney are here." (Joe was their coach of the Jr. Celtic team who had passed away tragically that same year when fell off a roof during work. ) Some of Mr. Maguire's last words were, " They are here for me." He passed away that night.
Understandably, the loss of his father at such a young age caused some difficult years for Pat. But he never lost his love and passion for soccer.
Pat began his coaching career while attending St. Ignatius college Prepatory. They required a hundred hours of community service to be completed before graduation and the logical choice for Pat was to do his service teaching soccer. He decided to start coaching his younger brothers at Holy Name Grammar school. After high school, he co-founded a recreational men's team, the San Francisco Shamrocks with his friend Kevin O'Conner. A few years later he founded the S.F. Emeralds. The team began with several young women who never played soccer before and they went from the being in the lowest division to the first division within four years. At the end of the 1980's, Pat started the SF Rovers with Kevin O'Conner and they played for a brief period in the men's division in SF.
In the early 1990's, Pat's life hit some more rough spots. He walked away from soccer, leaving it, he thought, to be just a distant memory. However, fate had other plans for him and the sport that was so entrenched in his soul. In 1996-97 Pat lived in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and while there he returned to playing soccer. He played on Sundays with a team comprised of men from all different nations around the world.
After he left Bosnia, he got married and moved to Belfast, Northern Ireland. He lived there for years, in the late nineties, with his wife, Buffy Maguire. Pat continued to play on a weekly basis with locals from the area. Upon his return to San Francisco he finished his playing days in the church and "pappy" league with the St. Gabriel Knights. He says the best part of playing in that league was that he had the opportunity to play with some of the Glens' players he admired as a boy. He was honored to play with these men and saw it as a fitting end to his playing soccer. Due to chronic and repetitive injuries he finally had to hang up his cleats for good.
Pat's devotion and life-long relationship to soccer however did not end with his decision to stop playing himself; it merely transformed. He did not realize it at the time, but he was soon to embark on the greatest adventure of his life with the birth of his first son Kevin. He taught Kevin to kick the ball before the boy could even walk. Pat would hold Kevin's arms as he kicked at the ball with dangling feet. Kevin immediately showed natural talent for the game. Pat saw this as an opportunity to bond with his son, apply his years of experience, and share the passion and magic he had felt for soccer in his own childhood. Pat's plan was to train Kevin with some basic skills then pass him onto a more experienced coach. In teaching Kevin, Pat came up with the idea to integrate his many years of training in martial arts into effective soccer training techniques. Through constant repetition and attention to detail, form and movement, "The Maguire Training Method" was born.
Pat’s original intention was to develop Kevin's skills to a level that made him a virtual soccer wizard. Pat thought he could proudly watch the magic Kevin displayed on the field from the sidelines. He thought he could be an enthusiastic spectator and that would be the extent of his involvement. This quickly changed when a mom of a boy from Kevin's team (who happened to be one of the players from his former Emeralds team) asked if Pat would coach these little guys. Unable to say no to this determined mother, he started the under 5 Leprechauns, a team made up of neighborhood kids. He applied the same methods he used with Kevin and it was an immediate success. He went on to coach at French American School, where Kevin was attending. Again, he used the same repetitive, focused methods in coaching and again successfully transformed these young boys into exceptional soccer players. He also coached his second son Conor and had the same results. Those who witnessed the success, quickly realized the Maguire Training Method was the real deal. Since Kevin and Conor both "played up" one to two years, Pat ended up coaching four teams, which came to be known as Revolution, at a time.
Dave Anderson, another SI graduate, heard of the Maguire Training Method's success and took great interest. Dave was a nationally licensed coach and had been coaching some of the top Northern California clubs in the East Bay for many years. He owned a small soccer club called Evolution Football Club. He asked Pat if he would consider joining his club and bringing his Revolution teams with him. Dave decided to move back to San Francisco because he took such a great interest in these teams and wanted to invest more of his time in helping them reach their goals. In order for Pat's teams to play in the Northern California premier league, they needed to join a club to remain eligible. Dave and Pat decided to join forces. During that period there was a team formed in the Mission District aimed to compete with Pat's Revolution team. This team, the Panteras, also needed a club to compete at Nor Cal level. The Panteras thus merged with Revolution to become what was known as San Francisco Evolution F.C. It was founded with six powerful teams that were predominately trained in the Maguire Training Method.
Tragically, during the first year of the newly formed Evolution F.C., devastation struck Pat, his family and the community. One morning, as Pat and his family traveled to their championship game against Palo Alto F.C., their lives took a horrible turn. Pat's beautiful son Kevin collapsed. They rushed him to the emergency room, knowing his life was in immediate jeopardy. The Maguire family soon discovered that Kevin had stage 4 brain cancer. Kevin lived for fourteen months after that day. On August 4, 2013, he passed away in his parents' arms. After Kevin's passing, Pat never wanted to look at another soccer field again. It brought too much pain knowing Kevin should be out there playing. Pat did not think he had it in him to go on living much less participate in soccer events without him.
Pat's final words to Kevin were, "If you can hear the voice of Jesus, follow him now and when my day comes, I'll meet you there. I will take care of your mamma and your brothers...... you can go now". Three breaths later Kevin left this world. Pat decided, at that time, to never coach again. At Kevin's services, in lieu of flowers, the family requested donations to fund a soccer field in honor of Kevin and highlight his love for the game. Broken hearted by their loss, Pat did not think he could coach or even watch soccer anymore, but wanted Kevin to be remembered in the San Francisco soccer community.
But, a week after Kevin's funeral, Pat's second son, Conor, approached him and asked, "Daddy, you're going to coach me, right?" Remembering his promise to Kevin that he would take care of his brothers, Pat answered, “Yes, Conor, I will coach you."
When Pat returned to soccer after his year and a half absence, Evolution FC had grown to forty teams and those teams were some of the best in San Francisco history. He was surprised to hear he was still the Vice President of Evolution FC, as Dave Anderson had kept the position open for him the whole time. In Pat’s first year back, he brought his team to the CCSL Championships and won by a considerable margin. The team excelled and rose to such a level, they needed to seek more competitive, higher level teams. They joined the Nor Cal premier gold division, where they have been competing and dominating for the last couple of years. In the same year, Pat obtained his National Coaching Diploma from the NSCAA. He was also chosen as one of the coaches in The United States to attend the West Ham United Soccer Academy where he also received a diploma. Pat is also now coaching his youngest son Dylan's team along with his exceptional co-coach Francisco Rangel. Again, they are using the Maguire Method in training the next premiere players in San Francisco.
Recently, the San Francisco Glens and Evolution FC have decided to merge in order to build the largest and most dynamic football club in San Francisco's history. The newly formed SF Glens Evolution has invited Pat to be the Director of Coaching (DOC) form the micro program, which includes U5 to U8 players. Pat has enthusiastically accepted the job and feels like merging with the SF Glens is like, "coming home." He brings with him Dave Anderson, along with a host of fantastic coaches and forty teams that will enhance an already exceptional soccer club. These new SF Glens Evolution teams and their players will bring kids of every ethnicity together to play the game of soccer and truly represent the face of San Francisco. Pat looks forward to sharing the Maguire Method with the new club, coaches, and children of SF Glens Evolution. Pat was recently asked "Wouldn't you like to keep your method a secret, since it is so successful?" "No" he replied, "It is meant to be shared and that is what I'm going to do."
The sorrow in Pat's life that comes with living without Kevin will never disappear. In spite of this, he hopes and believes his pain can be somewhat eased by sharing the coaching method he created for Kevin as a child. It will be a way for Kevin's spirit to live on in this world; it will infuse his essence into the lives of everyone who encounters it. Pat can feel Kevin watching over him with his signature smile, his eyes filled with joy, saying, "Good job, daddy!" It is this knowledge that gives Pat the strength to move forward. Kevin is the reason for the Maguire Method’s creation, and he remains the reason Pat passionately embraces his coaching with dedication and enthusiasm like no others.
Again, Pat's coaching career began in the 1980's as a result of completing community service for high school. The Jesuits referred to it as A. M. D. G. hours, meaning For The Greater Glory of God. This sums up Pat's relationship with coaching and soccer quite well as Pat continues his service today. Pat has never accepted money or a salary for his coaching. He freely gives his heart and passion to the players and their continued success serves as his payment. Perhaps it is this selfless act of faith and giving that, in large part, leads to the effectiveness and success of the Maguire Method.
Pat was once asked by one of his closest friends if his coaching was too much given the heartbreak and tragedy he has experienced. He paused pensively as he remembered the words of a poem his mother often quoted when life made her weary. "No, "he said and repeated the Robert Frost poem, as she often did, "the woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I've got promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep. And miles to go before I sleep."
When Kevin passed away, the Maguire Family was reeling from unbearable grief. They set up the fund for the soccer field in Kevin’s memory as an effort to move in a positive direction beyond the dark, unimaginable loss of their beautiful son. At that time they had no clear path of how it would come to fruition. They only knew the field would honor Kevin, his life and his passion for soccer while serving community at the same time. They hoped the path to its reality would be revealed to them when the time was right . And while there’s still no clear path in place, the outlines of one are emerging through the union of these two powerful soccer organizations. For Pat and his family and the San Francisco soccer community, there is also hope that the outline will lead to something clear and bright and lasting that will match any child’s greatest soccer hopes and dreams.
Please take a moment to read Kevin Maguire's obituary as published in The San Francisco Chronicle.
Contributions to the Kevin Maguire Field fund can be made out to SF Glens Evolution, Tax ID #45-3022817 and mailed to Kevin Maguire Field, 2521 Judah St. San Francisco, CA 94122
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