Peter McGahey, teaching assistant professor at West Virginia University, has been named as an assistant coach for the United States Power Soccer National Team. He is one of two assistants under the direction of head coach Tracy Mayer.
McGahey’s appointment is for the next World Cup cycle. The next World Cup is in 2026 in Argentina. The United States is coming off a third-place finish in the 2023 World Cup in Australia.
The US Power Soccer National Team features male and female athletes with disabilities that include quadriplegia, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy and cerebral palsy, among others. The players used a power wheelchair. The game is played in a gymnasium on a regulation basketball court with four players who attack, defend and spin-kick a 13-inch soccer ball in a skilled and fast-paced game similar to mainstream soccer.
McGahey started grassroots-level soccer programming for athletes with disabilities at each of his head coaching stops. When McGahey left coaching and took a teaching position at WVU, he didn’t see any reason to stop finding ways to give back to the game.
“I have always had a passion for creating soccer opportunities for as many people as possible and making the game as inclusive as possible,” he says. “The beautiful game is for everybody – everyone plays!”
McGahey saw an opportunity to continue his passion on Twitter (X), of all places. A post from Stuart Sharp, Senior Director of the US Soccer Extended National Team, asked that anyone interested in becoming involved in the extended national team to send him a resumé.
McGahey promptly sent in his resumé but was promptly rejected.
Sharp did, though, point an undeterred McGahey to Ashley Hammond, who was serving as Chair for the US Soccer Disability Soccer Committee. McGahey knew he would have to earn trust and demonstrate competency, and Hammond let him assist in several events. He kept working with Hammond, which allowed him to be seen, at times, by Sharp.
McGahey worked a camp for cerebral palsy (CP) athletes in August, and Sharp was there. They got to know each other better and Sharp observed his coaching. McGahey then did a presentation and a series of workshops for US Soccer in December for Disability Soccer Month.
In early January, Sharp asked McGahey if he would be interested in joining the power soccer staff as an assistant coach. McGahey said he would love to serve and love the opportunity to be part of a national team.
“I love the opportunity to work with high-performance athletes,” McGahey says. “I'm really quite passionate about the disability pathway. It's a place where I'm continuing to learn and grow. You get to work with incredibly highly motivated, really skillful athletes – some of the best athletes in the world. They just happen to play their soccer in power wheelchairs. I'm incredibly humbled by the opportunity to work with that level of athlete and program, and it just helps me be a better person, a better coach, a better professor, and a better faculty member for our college.”
While he has served for US Soccer in a variety of capacities, he soon will get the opportunity to wear the vaunted US Soccer crest as a coach.
“Any time you’re able to put on the crest and represent U.S. soccer, it is an incredibly humbling,” he says. “Now that I’ll actually be putting the crest on as a coach, something that I have never done before, it’s quite a privilege.”
McGahey’s first task with the team will be at a camp in March as part of United States Soccer Adapt and Thrive event. Athletes will come and train and McGahey will be part of the staff that selects players for upcoming competitions and the final World Cup roster in 2026.