European professional soccer teams looking at Kettle Run’s Kevin Coleman
Wednesday, Jul. 2
Kettle Run's Kevin Coleman will travel to London in August to be evaluated by some English professional soccer teams. --Photo courtesy of Kevin Coleman
Kettle Run High freshman soccer player Kevin Coleman watched the U.S. World Cup soccer team play Portugal on June 22 and flinched with our nation as the Portuguese scored a goal in the last possible seconds of the match for a 2-2 draw.
But Coleman watched with a perspective that very few see from.
That could Coleman playing on the TV in a few years.
For Coleman, wearing the U.S. jersey in a game is an accomplishment already crossed off his list. The Cougars' freshman phenom has received that honor quite a few times to date in his young career, starting out when he was as young as 13 at a U14 national team camp in Los Angeles.
“I think things really started to spark for me in soccer when I was 13 and getting to go to that national team camp in California,” said the slender midfielder. “It opened up a lot of doors for me and allowed a large number of people to see my potential. I think being able to show my speed and some of the skills I have convinced the coaches I belonged in the program.”
It was those same skills shown seven years earlier that convinced Alfred Coleman, Kevin’s father, to place him on his first youth soccer team at six years old. It was a decision that Kevin is very grateful for today.
“It all started when I was six,” said Coleman. “My dad, my brother Tim (a former Kettle Run standout and the 2013 Fauquier Times KRHS Boys Athlete of the Year), and I used to kick the ball around in the yard and my dad liked my speed and touch on the ball. Ever since then it’s been only soccer for me and I am very happy it went that way. I have been given so many opportunities through the sport and have been very blessed.”
Coleman’s career in soccer has been filled with incredible success, most recently helping Kettle Run make the Class 3A state semifinals, where they fell to Blacksburg 3-2 earlier this month.
Coleman was influential for Kettle Run, scoring 10 goals and tallying a team leading 16 assists to cap a great year. It wasn’t just his tendency to get his name in the stat book that made him so vital.
For coach Phil Roper it was Coleman’s ability to change a game.
“Kevin was exceptional in the way he moved with the ball and even without it,” said Roper. “He got teammates involved and raised the standard of play every time he stepped onto the field. Him and Evan Szklennik formed a dynamic forward partnership all year long.”
Roper wasn’t even sure if the national team prospect would suit up for him this season, due to other commitments to the national team program, but was thrilled to see him at the team tryouts.
“I had heard a lot about him prior to the tryouts and wasn’t sure if he would be able to play this season, but he showed up and my first thoughts were that he was incredibly gifted,” said Roper. “He has lived up to everything I heard. He performed incredibly well for us this season.”
For Coleman, starring for the Cougars wasn’t actually the highlight of his freshman year.
He was selected to go down to Bradenton, Florida for the U17 national team residency program earlier in the year. The camp was in preparation for the U17 World Cup qualifiers.
Going to these camps was the first step taken by many of today’s American professional soccer players, so for Coleman, who wants nothing more than to play the game he loves for a living, it looks like he is on the right path.
“I do want to play professional soccer,” said Coleman. “My plan for the future, as of right now, is going pro first playing in Europe. I feel like this would benefit me because the teams in Europe like to develop players when they're around 17 or 18, so I don't think college would be the move."
But he said college offers might still interest him. "If going pro doesn't work out, then college is obviously my next plan. The University of Virginia has been looking at me and I hope to gain other schools' attention as well.”
Coleman's dream seems to have a concrete chance to come to fruition.
Clubs in Europe are already on his tail.
“I just recently went to Italy and got a couple pro looks from Juventus and some other teams in Italy,” said Coleman. “This summer, in August, I will be going to London to train with Chelsea and Tottenham. These are great opportunities I am excited for. Training in London will be special.”
At this point it is unclear if Coleman will return to KRHS in the fall. No matter what happens with his pro prospects this summer, Coleman has a lot of people pulling for him.
Said Roper: “He really is a fantastic player, but to top it all off, he is an incredibly humble individual who is a great player to coach. He will do very well in whatever he decides to do, and I think he has a very good possibility of continuing his career past high school.”
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