Mack Brady Soccer Fund continues growing, achieving dream of Goalkeeper U.

September 18, 2014

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Whether you’ve noticed or not, all the goalkeepers for the Penn State men’s soccer program wear a patch on the back of their jerseys.

The patch is a diamond, which holds four, four-leaf clovers. Within that is a circle with the No. 7 and through the middle it reads “Mack.”

Just like any patch, it has meaning and a special purpose.

For one family along with the community and team, it’s to honor the legacy of a child whose dream was to put on that very jersey.

John William McKenzie Brady had a passion for soccer. At the age of 5, he knew two things: he wanted to be a goalkeeper and to play for Penn State.

John, better known as Mack, passed away unexpectedly from a blood infection Dec. 31, 2012. He was 8 years old.

Because of his dream, his family wanted to honor him by making the school a destination for goalkeepers.

Mack’s father, Schreyer Honors College Dean Christian Brady along with his wife, Elizabeth, started the Mack Brady Soccer Fund.

The fund would benefit the men’s soccer program. Dean Brady said the objective of the fund is simple: make Penn State become Goalkeeper U.

“As far as we know, there is no other University in the nation that has this kind of emphasis and support for goalkeepers,” he said.

Dean Brady said since it’s inception, they have been working on designs for specific training facilities, developing special equipment and upgrading to professional-level equipment.

Starting with the 2013 season, the men’s team hosted a fundraiser, known as the Mack Brady Day, with one of their games against California.

Assistant coach Michael Behonick said the day dedicated to Mack carries a special purpose for the Penn State community and honors his life and dream.

The team will continue that this year when they face Ohio State in their Big Ten season opener Sept. 21.

This year’s event will feature a tailgate with the families of players, clinics, raffles and a rollout of new Goalkeeper U. shirts on sale. All proceeds will go to support the fund.

“The support has just been incredible. Nothing will replace Mack, but it makes us feel incredibly loved to know that so many people think of Mack and us,” Dean Brady said. “We know that Mack will be remembered at Penn State forever, and it’s a tremendous legacy.”

Because of the special relationship between the men’s soccer program and the Brady family, the concept of Goalkeeper U. and making Penn State the most unique place for goalkeepers is a reality.

“Mack would say, ‘It’s totally wicked,’” Dean Brady said.

Last Updated September 18, 2014