Making the Grade: Tyler MacGuire
The snow-covered rugged terrain of Summit County generally attracts people who are looking for powder, altitude and a ski town atmosphere. Competitive soccer is not usually on any top-ten list of local recreational activities.Strikers coach Tyler MacGuire, 24, thought he fit that stereotype. An avid skier and snowboarder, the Connecticut native moved to the High Country in 2004 from New England to pursue the copious snow and “a lot of vertical” offered by local ski areas.Within three months, though, he found himself coaching competitive soccer at a time when all the area soccer fields were still covered with snow, giving credence to the (slightly paraphrased) adage: “You can take the boy out of soccer, but you can’t take soccer out of the boy.”The game has almost always been a part of MacGuire’s life. At age 3 or 4, he started kicking the soccer ball around his backyard, and he played his first competitive match at age 10.”I’ve played everything,” he said. “I played goalie in high school and then I moved into the field.”After playing soccer at New England College in New Hampshire, MacGuire headed west. He knew about the attractions of Colorado from visiting his uncle in Denver throughout his childhood.”I’d known for quite a long time I wanted to move to Summit County,” he said.MacGuire was looking through the newspaper soon after his arrival and was surprised to see a classified ad for an assistant director at High Country Soccer Association.”I wasn’t even aware there was any soccer at all up here,” he said. Administrative work didn’t appeal to him, but he offered his coaching experience to the fairly new organization.He volunteered his services that spring and started coaching for the Strikers Club, the competitive side of High Country Soccer, the next fall. Since then, he has coached the same team of boys, now comprised of fifth and sixth-graders and classified as “U-12.”Strikers Soccer Club technical director Scott Donnelly has high praise for MacGuire’s commitment to his team.”He is a consistent and model coach,” Donnelly said. “He has a great demeanor with the kids and he really knows his soccer.”According to MacGuire, it’s the quality of his team that keeps him coming back.”I’m lucky to have the group of kids I have,” he said. “They’re the hardest working team I’ve seen. That’s the reason I’m still doing it.”MacGuire is very proud of his athletes’ level of play against Front Range teams with much larger talent pools. Last fall, he led his team to a top-three finish in a very competitive league. He credits parent support for making success possible.”I’ve got a really strong parent group,” he said. “They make an effort to get the kids to practice.”The high cost of living in Summit County takes its toll on MacGuire, but he’s creatively meeting the financial demands of resort life.”I want to find a way to make enough money to live here the rest of my life,” he said. Currently, he lives in SIlverthorne with four roommates and three dogs.MacGuire’s commitment to the individuals he coaches is obvious. When asked what his goals for the team are, MacGuire says nothing about winning or losing.”I want the kids to find satisfaction,” he said, “in whatever they do.”
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