When Kevin Cromwell started helping a friend coach a young soccer team in the Edgewood youth rec program 10 years ago, he never imagined it would lead him to being hired as a college coach.
This week, Cromwell, 28, of Edgewood was named head coach of the Harford CommunityCollege men's soccer team. He replaces Rob Bailey, who resigned after 12 years, nine as head coach and three as an assistant coach.
Cromwell was selected from a field of six applicants for the part-time job. He served as the assistant coach at HCC for the 1989-1990 and 1986 seasons.
"I never thought it would lead to all this," he said. "I just really liked the sport."
"Kevin is a good motivator, and he knows the soccer community locally, which helps in regard to recruiting," Bailey said.
Cromwell is the state director for TEAMS/USA, an organization that sends U.S. soccer players to Europe to compete.
Cromwell, a 1980 Edgewood High School graduate, also coaches for the Rox Soccer Club. He has two teams that have qualified to travel to Atlanta for the SoccerAmerica National Indoor Championship Series.
"The first priority is to establish my own style and establishmyself in the position," he said.
Cromwell said he hopes to bringa broad perspective on soccer to the team when practice begins next fall, a perspective he has gained coaching young players on trips to Europe with TEAMS/USA.
In 1987, Cromwell coached the Under-19 Silver Team and in 1988 coached the Under-19 Gold Team in Europe.
In 1989, he coached an Under-19 Elite Team of Mid-Atlantic players that traveled to the Soviet Union.
"Coaching has helped me to grow up and mature a lot," he said.
"It has helped me realize that I have a responsibility to set a good example and understand not just tactics and techniques but also sportsmanship and the value of competing."
Cromwell plans to do a lot of recruiting, but recruiting in a different sense of the word: "showing kids what the opportunities are."
HCC competes in Region 20 of the National Junior College Athletic Association.