Brendan May is the ultimate soccer dad. He is a father, a coach, a fan and the head commissioner of Chestnut Hill Youth Soccer Club.
“Our lives are 100 percent soccer dominated all year long,” said Mary Kate McGrath-May, his wife.
Six years ago, May went to volunteer as assistant coach of his son’s soccer team, having no idea he would leave as head coach and a commissioner.
May has since dedicated everything he can to the club and community, working to provide a soccer experience fit for all the children of northwest Philadelphia.
“The objective is to keep costs down to make it as accessible as possible to everyone in the community,” May said.
His sons, Liam and Paddy, have been kicking soccer balls since they could walk, and are proud of what their dad has done for their neighborhood league.
“They want to be like their dad and provide soccer for other kids like their dad has,” McGrath-May said.
Liam, 10, and Paddy, 9, have been attending Union games since they were 3 and 4 years old. McGrath-May said she and her husband love bringing the boys to Union games and have done so since the franchise’s inaugural season.
The boys look up to the Union players, and think of them as their friends. They were heartbroken when Sebastien Le Toux left the Union. Two years later, they cried tears of joy when they learned he was returning.
“We know [the Union players] are all such great role models,” said McGrath-May, “If our kids turn out anything like them we know we’ll be in good shape.”
As a coach, May loves having a professional team nearby to take his sons to.
“It adds illustration to the game for them,” he said, “I can coach, but nothing brings it home like seeing the professional players do it.”
Because of May’s devotion to marketing and making the league affordable for everyone, many families in their area have been able to join.
He explained the club is community-based and allows his sons to have a diverse group of friends they might not have met otherwise.
His oldest son, Liam, is on a team of 12 boys. The players on that team, May said, represent nine different schools from the area.
“These kids live a few blocks away, but they might never have known them if it weren’t for sports,” May said.
The family considers sports critical in their community, uniting everyone in the area together.
McGrath-May knows her husband is playing a leading role in implementing that into their neighborhood.
“He is passing on his work ethic and sense of service to our kids and community,” she said. “I love seeing the good it is doing in our neighborhood.”
This story is part of AAA’s “Start Your Journey” campaign, an effort – in partnership with the Union – to help celebrate families’ journeys in support of their young athletes…the long road trips, all-weekend tournaments, and the special bonds that are formed from the extensive time on the road. Each month, the Philadelphia Union and AAA will select an individual within its soccer network to develop a feature story on their path to success in association with the game of soccer. Additionally, fans are encouraged to share their own stories via social media using #ShareYourJourney