DUNSTABLE -- Recent Groton-Dunstable graduate Connor Maguire has his fair share of state championship bling -- whether it be of the Division 3A state hockey champion variety or Division 2 soccer. With that comes accolades and in Maguire's case, a chance to play soccer at the next level.
Maguire, who grew up with more of a focus in hockey, did not start taking his soccer training regiment seriously until he was a sophomore at Groton-Dunstable.
"It wasn't until one summer when Matt Tornaritis's dad came up to me and said 'why don't you play soccer," Maguire said about the start of his soccer career. "I played for him and he influenced me to tryout for club teams. And, I started to take the game a lot more seriously like most club players do. The intensity level and the training in club soccer is a lot more intense. Everybody at that level wants to play at the next level."
Maguire then joined an elite club soccer program, FC Stars, where he quickly learned that his athleticism as a goalkeeper might lead to the opportunity to play collegiately. Maguire announced last month that he is part of the incoming recruiting class at Worcester's prestigious Clark University. The club teams that Maguire played on often times needed a goalie, and he always stepped up to fill the void.
"I made the decision at the beginning of my junior soccer season that I wanted to pursue playing soccer in college," Maguire said. "I went out and found some schools that I really liked academically and athletically.
Maguire is entering college as a Pre Biology major with the intent of pursuing a medical degree later on down the road. Maguire has received a lot of praise for selecting Clark University as his school-of-choice for its valued reputation in the area.
"It feels nice to hear people say that I am going to a very prestigious school," Maguire said. "When I walked around the university and talked to people who went to Clark, they all said 'congratulations on going to such a great school.' It made me feel proud that they're part of it to and that people out there know how great the school is and the hard-work that everyone puts in."
The Cougars finished 4-12-2 last season and 1-5-1 in the New England Womens and Mens Athletic Conference. Maguire comes in with a fellow freshman goalkeeper and a two other returners, but he feels he has as good as a chance as the next guy to earn minutes.
"We have eight freshmen coming into the program, including myself, this year," Maguire said. "As long as I come into training and show the coaches what I am capable of, I should have a good shot. I have been working a lot in the offseason with a goalkeeper coach and been doing a lot of conditioning. I am hoping it pays off."
The Dunstable native and the rest of the Clark Cougars report to camp on August 15 with their first game of the season one week later at home against Becker College in the Worcester City Tournament.
It will be a little different for Maguire when he steps onto the pitch for Clark in the NEWMAC conference, a few of his former teammates are members of rival institutions. Fellow Groton-Dunstable goalkeeper Jamie Bailey is at Wheaton and defender Dan McGuinness is at Babson College. Ryan Hardy is at Mass Maritime, too.
"I am looking forward to going in there and showing everyone what I can do," he said. "I get to go to the college a couple of weeks before classes start to get used to campus. It is going to be fun to the see the guys, but it'll be strange to see them in a different jersey."
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