Dream of young boy turning Penn State into 'Goalkeeper U'

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Penn State coaches come together in Philadelphia to celebrate and support Mack Brady Penn State Men's Soccer Fund

Dream of young boy turning Penn State into 'Goalkeeper U'

When Mack Brady, 8, died suddenly on New Year's Eve 2012, his parents wanted to honor his dream of becoming a Penn State goalkeeper. Elizabeth and Christian Brady established the Mack Brady Soccer Fund benefitting Penn State Men's soccer and the goalkeeper program in particular.

After 18 months, the endowment fund is now over $160,000.

"We believe that this is the only dedicated goalkeeper development program at any university in the country."

-- Michael Behonick, Penn State men's soccer new goalkeeper coach, recently recruited from the University of Virginia.

"We believe that this is the only dedicated goalkeeper development program at any university in the country," said Michael Behonick, Penn State men's soccer new goalkeeper coach, recently recruited from the University of Virginia. "The vision of developing the Nittany Lions into Goalkeeper U is big, it sets Penn State apart" said Behonick. "With the success and outstanding performance of the United States goalkeeper, Tim Howard, in the recent World Cup, there is no better time to promote the program."

Currently, the fund provides Penn State keepers additional resources to have the best equipment and training methods to succeed. But the coaches would like to build a new training area, which would include both grass and artificial turf areas and a sandpit to help keepers develop skills for different sorts of grounds. Eventually, the goal is to build a clubhouse dedicated to training goalkeepers. The clubhouse would include facilities for watching videos, a yoga studio, a training room for weight lifting, boxing, and a special lightboard designed for speed and agility training. It would be the first such training facility in the United States.

"The goal of our men's soccer program is to recruit, develop and graduate top level soccer players whose Penn State experience will assist them in impacting our society long after their playing careers," said Bob Warming, head coach of Penn State Men's soccer team. "An outstanding goalkeepers program that is community supported will help achieve these goals."

"The Mack Brady Soccer Fund is a great example of what Penn State culture is really about. We are about servant leadership and instilling the importance of helping others through great initiatives like THON and the Mack Brady Soccer Fund," continued Warming.

"Elizabeth, Izzy and I are humbled by the outpouring of support for Mack's fund," said Christian Brady, dean, Schreyer Honors College. "When Mack died we heard from many professional goalkeepers who heard his story and saw his photo. They said they remembered when they were young and played the game for the pure love of the sport, when it was uncomplicated, but with big dreams. They welcomed Mack into the Goalkeepers Union, or GKU, [the unofficial "union" that all keepers belong to by nature of their unique position]. It's a great honor for him and for us. We can't imagine a better legacy than for Penn State to become the next GKU; "Goalkeepers University".

To further grow the Mack Brady Soccer Fund, the Brady family has invited all Penn State fans to an evening event with coaches from six different Penn State sports. The event will be held at 7 p.m. on Aug. 8 at PPL Park in Chester, Pennsylvania, the home of Major League Soccer's Philadelphia Union and will include dinner and a silent auction benefiting the fund. For more information and to sign up, visit www.mackbrady.com/dinner.

For those unable to attend the event on Aug. 8, but would still like to support the Mack Brady Soccer Fund, Coach Warming has announced that the team's Big Ten home opener on Sept. 21 against Ohio State University will be this year's annual Mack Brady Game.

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