Toir Training Program - The story
Toir founder, Conor Maher, grew up in Ireland and moved to the US to play college soccer. He would describe himself as a player who was technically limited but had the heart and desire to make up for it through practice, hard work, and access to soccer experts. It was this education that made him succeed and receive a substantial scholarship to play at the college level. He now want to pass on the lessons he has learned from the best in the game to the next generation of soccer players in the United States.
Throughout his soccer career, he benefitted from having great coaches and mentors. Combined with his strong drive to improve his game no matter what it took, these coaches were able to make him a better player and a better person.
After finishing up playing competitively, he realised he had a real obligation to pay forward the incredible guidance he received while he was growing up and during his college career and is now a coach and advisor.
He established the Toir Academy to work with athletes who have a real drive to better themselves.
Read on to learn about Conor's journey.
Conor tried out for the Wexford county team (counties in Ireland are equivalent to how US refer to states) at ages U11 thru U15. He was always told that he wasn’t good enough and that he did not make the team that year. He kept practicing daily using drills and lessons that he learned from his grandfather, John Giles, to catch up to these county players. Giles is a former captain and head coach of the Irish International team, and also played for Manchester United and Leeds United. These collections of drills later became the "Toir Training Program". At U16, Conor finally made the county team and played under Mick Wallace and made an appearance in the All Ireland semi final against Cork.
After that season with the county team, he was invited to join League of Ireland team Wexford Youths to play for their underage teams. The League of Ireland is a league of professional clubs from the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The U18 team had just won the FAI Umbro Youth Cup, so they were one of the best youth teams in Ireland, with many quality players. He joined at 16 and the 16,17 and 18 year olds trained together for pre-season. He was now playing with the players who he had watched win the cup a few months earlier. He remembers that first pre-season, and recalls he was "miles off the pace", often times thinking he didn't belong there at all. If anyone made a mistake during the training, the whole team would have to do push-ups, so now the players that he looked up to are constantly having to do pushups because of his mistakes.
Conor continued to remain positive and put his head down and used the "Toir Training Program" like never before. Within 3 months he became a starter, and held that position for the next 3 seasons at underage level at Wexford Youths.
When he was 17, the men's team chose 3 players from the academy to promote to their squad. He was one of them, alongside Ryan Delaney. Ryan is now a successful professional player in England, having had a great career in Ireland and England.
Conor was now training with many seasoned professionals every week and he knew he needed to take his game up another level. He was being coached at underage level by Tom Elmes, who is now the Ireland International Women's Assistant Coach and Ireland Women's U16 Head Coach. The senior team's manager was Shane Keegan, who recently coached against Arsenal in the UEFA Champions League. Both coaches are UEFA Professional Licensed coaches and both were instrumental to Conor's development. The team won the First Division that year, and being part of the extended squad was a valuable education.
The "Toir Training Program" was becoming stronger because of the drills and advice from these experienced coaches and players and well as his grandad now providing more advanced advice.
Conor was then fortunate to meet the Brennan family after one of his Wexford games who asked if he would be interested in coming to the United States to play college soccer. Tomás had recently returned back to Wexford after attending NCAA D1 Winthop University, and recommended him to Dan Ridenhour, who was about to take over as head coach. Dan flew over to Ireland and watched Conor is practice and games, and not long after Conor was offered a scholarship to play at Winthrop.
He joined as a freshman in the spring of 2016. Two months earlier, the team had won the Big South Conference Final. Again, he was felt like he was "miles off the pace". He found the international players to be a lot more technical than he was used to.
He knew what he had to do. After team training every day he would train on his own for hours. He used drills he learned from his time at Wexford, grandad and now college coaches, specifically Phil Hindson, who wanted him to work on his range of passing. During the summer he played at a semi-professional level in the NPSL, and soon he got up to the quality and became a starter at Winthrop his sophomore year and Co- Captain his senior year.
The "Toir Training Program" is now being passed on to the next generation of players. Conor wants to pass on what he has learned to improve a player individually and tactically, using the Toir network to provide additional assistance. Toir has over 100 years of college coaching experience and these coaches have developed the program into a one-of-a-kind blueprint. The Toir program will help players reach your goals, whether your next level is from club to college or college to pro. Toir will give you the best possible chance of reaching your potential and your goals.