Recently, we caught up with new Philadelphia Union U-19 Academy Head Coach Kevin Coleman. Coleman, who has been with a variety of age groups in the Academy is embracing his new role with the U-19’s.
Just like the players of the Union, coaches have a similar Path to the Pros. With proper guidance from other Academy coaches, Coleman has climbed his way up the coaching ladder.
“I started in the Union juniors program with Ian Monroe, Phil Carn and Richie Graham giving me an opportunity,” Coleman said. “Then Tommy Wilson came in and allowed me an opportunity to work with the youngest age group at the U-12 level, so every year I’ve been able to jump up a level from U-12’s to 13’s to 14’s and now back into the 19’s.”
A unique part of working with the U-19’s is directing these boys’ paths to stardom — whether it be through college or the USL. Coleman knows how important this is and is determined to help guide his new players.
“We have boys transitioning into the USL, but at the same point boys that go away to school, you see guys on the first team like Keegan (Rosenberry) and (Josh) Yaro who have taken the college pathway,” Coleman said. “So it’s important that they get into that next level and represent themselves and the club extremely well.”
To Coleman, working with this group is very rewarding, especially watching them develop both on and off the pitch.
“The best part is a lot of the boys I’ve actually worked with at the U-14 level, so it’s great to reconnect with them at an older age group and to see the development they’ve undergone in the last three years of the project,” Coleman said.
Coleman also feels it’s great to have players like Auston Trusty and Anthony Fontana on the First Team who can give the Academy kids hope that they can achieve their dreams and make it professional.
"It's amazing when you have a guy like Anthony and Auston that are playing and contributing right away,” Coleman said. “So it really emphasizes the vision and the dream that the club has, and makes it realistic for every boy on the roster.”
For Coleman and the rest of the coaching staff, preaching high standards to the Academy kids is the most important thing.
“We preach keeping high standards, whether it’s training, a friendly, a game, a GA Cup, or a final,” Coleman said. “Just to have those standards every time you step out onto the field and represent the club, it’s really important.”
It’ll certainly be exciting to see Coleman guide his Academy players to stardom, as his new role will certainly pay dividends for the Union Academy as well as the Union First Team.