BY KEVIN KERNEN | PHOTO COURTESY FC CINCINNATI
For the Louisville City faithful, Pat McMahon sticks out as a foe from both the Rochester Rhinos and, more recently, FC Cincinnati. He also brings both a flowing head full of hair and an international resume to a LouCity squad in need of defensive reinforcements.
A native of Chicago suburb Bolingbrook, Illinois, Pat played for youth team Ajax FC Chicago before enrolling in the Horizon League’s University of Illinois at Chicago in 2005. He stood out as a strong defender while starting every single game in his four seasons there, collecting a pair of league titles as well as reaching as high as sixth in the national polls in 2006. As is customary with talented college players, McMahon played in the amateur Premier Development League (PDL) during the summer months in 2005, 2006 and 2008, joining the Chicago Fire’s youth team in his final foray into the League.
After leaving UIC, where he would later return to finish his finance degree, Pat ventured down to Puerto Rico to trial for an expansion USL team, but nothing came of it. Returning to the Chicago area, Pat enlisted in Bridges FC, a program for unsigned and out-of-contract players that gives them the connections and visibility to different clubs in hopes of signing a professional contract. After a year of hard training with Bridges FC and an international trial with Danish club HB Køge that ended with a fractured ankle and a long layoff for rehabilitation, Pat joined semi-pro Australian team Wynnum District Wolves FC in 2011, along with two other players from the program.
While gaining valuable game experience, Pat found himself working a litany of jobs – from cleaning the team’s clubhouse, to bartending, to pouring concrete foundations – in order to keep his prospects of playing professionally alive. He featured an impressive 55 times over a pair of seasons, winning the Brisbane-centric regular season league title in his first year and taking the playoff trophy the succeeding season, all while earning Player of the Year honors. Although Pat was a fan of the lifestyle and climate, he had outgrown the league, and yet the option of the A-League (Australia’s top division) was unlikely due to the gauntlet of paperwork and visas needed to become a full professional. On a trip abroad with Bridges FC to the quite literally polar opposite side of the globe, Pat earned his first professional contract.
Ljungskile, Sweden, is home to an eponymous club, which has been in the nation’s second division most of its existence. Ljungskile Sport Klub signed Pat ahead of their 2013 campaign, having previously penned Pat Hopkins, a teammate of Pat’s in Australia. Bringing his imposing presence in defense, Pat helped shore up the injury-blighted team’s defense, and the team maintained their second-division status despite having stared down the possibility of relegation.
Pat returned home after his contract wasn’t renewed for the following season. Having played abroad for the last three years, he sought something closer to home and an opportunity to trial with the Rochester Rhinos came up.
In Pat’s first season with the Rhinos in 2014, he took part in 26 contests en route to a sixth place regular season finish and an appearance in the playoff quarterfinals. Following a competition restructuring in the league for the 2015 season (largely due to an influx of expansion teams, including Louisville City), the Rhinos dominated in the newly formed Eastern Conference. In 28 regular season league games, the Rhinos conceded only 15 goals and lost just once before going on to top LouCity in the Conference Championship. Pat and company would then go on to edge Western Conference representatives LA Galaxy II in an extra time USL Final, thanks in large part to Pat’s presence in the back line, which ran to 27 starts, including going all 120 minutes in the Final, a record that Pat hangs his hat on.
Finding himself again out of contract after the 2015 Championship season, he joined upstarts FC Cincinnati for the following season, and again found himself well up the team sheet, netting 27 appearances in the league. After a big turnover in players between the 2016 and 2017 seasons, Pat remained in the squad but found himself surplus to requirements with only 92 minutes of playing time on the 2017 season.
Following the path of his former teammate Luke Spencer, who switched the year previous, Pat swapped sides of the USL’s most exciting rivalry and is now a member of LouCity’s team, fortifying the already formidable defense that counts Sean Totsch (a former teammate in Rochester and his roommate for this season) and Paco Craig as centerpieces, as well as fellow signee and first-year pro Alexis Souahy.
Thanks in part to his being a native of the Chicago area, Pat enjoys listening to Motown and blues music, and collecting records in down time. Fueled by his years abroad, Pat also enjoys traveling in the offseason and seeing old friends. During the season, he likes to bond with teammates, something that will keep him in good stead with Coach O’Connor.
For what some may call a “journeyman career,” Pat has been successful most of the places he has played and presents an eminently likeable personality. He considers himself fortunate to have been on a number of strong sides, and on top of all of that, he will definitely move the needle when it comes to follicle excellence.