Those who know Kevin Broadley, soccer coach at Lake Norman Charter Middle School, would not be surprised to learn that as early as age 3, he was already kicking around a soccer ball.
What is surprising is that in sixth grade, he was the heaviest and slowest player on his soccer team, he said.
"I was the kid that would be picked last," he confessed.
In seventh grade he improved his eating habits, make better choices and began working out. His goal was to make the varsity soccer team as a high school freshman. With focus, drive and determination, he made it as a sophomore.
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At 17, Broadley was invited to try out for the Olympic Development Program by his father, Peter Broadley, who had been a staff coach with the N.C. ODP since 1986.
Peter Broadley came to the U.S. from England and has coached college soccer for 23 years. He coached two NCAA Division III national champions and coached Catawba College to five conference championships and two area titles. In 2009 the National Soccer Coaches Association of America honored him with the Mike Berticelli Excellence in Coaching Education Award.
Kevin Broadley made the first cut for the Olympic Development Program. Unfortunately, he was not able to continue due to broken vertebrae.
His back was never quite the same, but he went on to play soccer for High Point University, where his father was coaching at the time. He chose High Point not because of his dad, but because he felt very much at home there after spending a lot of time on the campus growing up.
His father coached him at High Point for less than one season. Soon after his father resigned that job, Kevin Broadley quit soccer. He did not coach, referee or play for almost a year.
He transferred to UNCCharlotte to study history. He also helped launch a chapter of Alpha Phi Omega, a national co-ed service fraternity, and became its president. Broadley had been an active member of the organization at High Point, participating in missions trips.
Before long, Kevin Broadley was back coaching and playing. He helped his father coach various teams. Then he heard about a coaching vacancy at Lake Norman Charter School last year.
At the ripe old age of 22, Kevin Broadley landed the job. Just enough boys to fill a team roster tried out, so he made no cuts. He coached them through a rough season with no wins and one tie. He also coached the middle school girls' team.
He returned this season to coach the middle school boys team. At tryouts, he saw nearly 40 players on the field and thought perhaps another team was having tryouts. But they were all there to tryout for his team. After several days, he took 18 players.
Besides coaching at LNCS, Broadley was an administrator for the N.C. ODP teams this past summer. At UNCC he also coaches the women's club soccer team and last year coached the men's club team. He plays on that team and two intramural teams.
"Monday and Wednesday I am on the soccer field from 3 to 11:30 p.m.," he said. "On Friday I have club practice, and then games on the weekend as well."
Despite that schedule, Broadley, with the help of assistant coach Jordan Idol, has helped the LNCS boys' middle school team learn how it feels to win. It has won twice, tied twice and lost just once.
"I want to put my own stamp and style of play on this team," Broadley said.
"I tell my players that I will provide them a training session at practice, and it is up to them to get something out of it."
Kevin Broadley turned 23 Saturday. I hope he took some time away from the soccer pitch to celebrate.