RALEIGH, N.C. — On Saturday in Frisco, Texas, legendary United States Men's National Team goalkeeper Tim Howard will have his name immortalized in the soccer history books by being one of four people inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame.

On the same stage with him just north of Dallas this weekend, a Raleigh native will also share in the honor as Josh McKinney will become the first member of an Extended United States Soccer National Team inducted into the Hall of Fame.

What You Need To Know

  • Josh McKinney will be inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame on Saturday

  • McKinney was diagnosed with cerebral palsy around the age of 1

  • McKinney is one of the best Paralympic soccer players in United States history, having spent 19 years in the professional ranks

  • McKinney has been a coach for more than 10 years with NCFC Youth Soccer, teaching the next generation of stars

Around the age of 1, McKinney was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, a condition that affects the movement, muscle tone or posture of a person. In the case of McKinney, his problems stemming from the congenital disorder included muscle tightness on his right side of his body, trouble in moving side to side, and now, arthritis. But at 5, McKinney’s mother enrolled him in his first recreational soccer program, giving him access to a sport that would forever change his life.

Despite his disadvantage, McKinney would become a soccer star on the international stage, competing for Team USA in the Paralympic Games from 1996 to 2010. He would compete professionally for 19 years, tallying 81 goals in 124 matches, helping the Americans to a best-ever fourth-place finish at the 1996 Atlanta Games and a silver medal at the 2010 Copa America in Buenos Aires. 

“It’s great, it’s awesome, it’s unbelievable where the program has gone and what U.S. soccer has done with all (kinds) of Extended National Teams. Just to be kind of part of that growth is pretty awesome,” McKinney said. 



But playing wasn't enough for McKinney.

After retiring, he still wanted to be connected to the game of soccer, which he loves so much. He would take his experiences and talents to coaching, joining NCFC Youth in North Carolina to help mentor and coach the next generation of soccer stars.

He is a coach for three different teams with NCFC, mentoring the Under-12, Under-13 and Under-18 teams. It’s a full-time job for McKinney, who coaches every day since retiring from playing 2014. He’s made it a point to teach his kids that they, too, can accomplish whatever they aspire to if they just believe in themselves and put in the work that is needed.

"Mine was wanting to prove that I could play again with able-bodied athletes, and I wanted them to find their own kind of chip on their shoulder to push them to work. So we've talked about this a couple of times throughout the year. I tried to get them to try and find that desire within them to kind of compete at a high level the entire time, so they can improve," McKinney said. "Where some people think that we're limited to doing certain stuff, it just takes us a little bit longer to kind of work at it and figure it out. Juggling with both feet, that took 5 to 10 years or so where I was able to juggle with my right foot. It just took time to put the work into it."

McKinney is already a member of the North Carolina Soccer Hall of Fame and West Virginia Soccer Association Hall of Fame from his playing days. He has conducted clinics for Washington-area youths with physical disabilities and traumatic brain injuries.

He attributes his passion for soccer to his grandfather Paul McKinney, who played poker for 70 years. His grandfather even made a career out of it, winning a World Series of Poker bracelet. His earning in the professional league totaled $396,825. He taught his grandson to always follow his dreams and passions.

"He did that for 70 years. He did what he loved, and I was like, 'oh, I want to do that too.' So whatever I could do to play soccer full time, I was gonna try and work at it," McKinney said.