Chad Metzler's path to becoming the girls' soccer coach at Davidson Day was a bit unconventional.
During his senior year in high school, the Cleveland-area native wanted to visit Duke University. His dad said he had to visit some other schools, if they were going to make the trip to North Carolina. So Metzler added a few schools to the list, including Davidson.
"When I got here (to Davidson) I just really liked it," he said. He quickly decided that Davidson is where he wanted to go to college.
In Metzler's first year playing soccer at Davidson in 1994, he tore his ACL, MCL and PCL at the same time while running during a game. He still managed to play two more games and score two goals before he realized how bad his injury was. His playing career was over.
He earned a bachelor's degree in art at Davidson, but minored in biochemistry and planned on going to medical school. But two years serving in the Peace Corps with his wife, Kristin, in Vanuatu changed his mind. He was teaching there and he thought, "You know what? I really like doing this."
After the Peace Corps, Metzler started teaching at Davidson Day in its former location on Armour Street. Then he taught at Myers Park High School before returning to Davidson Day in 2007, where he teaches physics, calculus and middle school science. His wife teaches environmental science and algebra at the school.
Metzler, 33, even owned a local restaurant, Jasper's, in downtown Davidson.
"My dad was visiting and decided it would be fun for some reason to own a restaurant," he said. "So he did it."
But his dad never lived in the area and asked his son to take over the restaurant in 2001. He and his wife ran Jasper's until 2007, when it became too much to balance with teaching.
Metzler started coaching club teams after he was injured in college. He started coaching at the Lake Norman Soccer Club three years ago, helping with their elite-level Eclipse program. He said he never had an interest in coaching at Myers Park because they already had an established program. But when he returned to Davidson Day, it was a different story.
When the school started fielding varsity sports last year, Metzler stepped up to coach the girls' soccer team.
"I'm pretty attached to the school, and I feel like an important part of it," he said. "It's my responsibility to step in where I can."
Brianna Willis, a junior forward at Davidson Day who has played club soccer with Metzler for five years, said that he has been great for the team.
"He's a great coach, and he always puts his team first," she said.
Metzler said that coaching high school has been a different experience compared to coaching club soccer.
"It's been a challenge, certainly interesting," he said. "You have that whole playing for your school mentality. Kids get the thrill of representing their school."
In club soccer, players come from all around the area to play and usually have some experience. At the high school level, Metzler has to work with what's already at the school. Many of his players have little-to-no experience with the sport.
That's why Willis said that his most important trait is "his patience. Most of these players have never played before."
It's a major difference from his U15 club team, who won the Dana Cup in Denmark, the third largest youth soccer tournament in the world with about 900 teams, last year.
Metzler said it's interesting to go from coaching a team that has played together for years to a team of girls that are just learning the sport.
"In some ways it's kind of fun though," he said. "You certainly have to adjust."
Often, he's adjusting several times in one night. Even though the club season is primarily in the fall, Metzler trains with his U15 team once a week after the high school practice. He also helps train the club's U9 team.
In their first year, Davidson Day failed to win a game. This year, Metzler expects the team to be much better.
"I think you'll see a pretty dramatic turnaround," he said. "Having a year under their belts and knowing a lot more about the game will help too."
Despite his success at the club level and his expectations for the high school team this year, Metzler is modest about his coaching ability.
"It's probably luck more than anything," he said. "Teenage girls are unpredictable at times."
"Overall, it's the love for the game," said Metzler. "I'd still be playing if I could."