Chad Severs will begin the next phase of his soccer life in the high school league where he rose to prominence as a player.
Severs, a former Ocean City High School standout, is the new Holy Spirit boys soccer coach, Spartans athletic director Keith Gorman announced Monday.
"I had a vision and a plan that I always wanted to coach," Severs said. "This is a good spot, the place where I started. I was once where these players are."
Both Ocean City and Holy Spirit play in the Cape-Atlantic League. Severs, 27, is one of the marquee names in local soccer and CAL history. Few athletes in any sport could match the Ocean City resident's soccer success.
He led Ocean City to state Group III co-championships as a junior and senior in 1999 and 2000. The striker scored 159 goals, two less than the state high school record of 161 set by Tab Ramos.
Severs also starred at Penn State University and has played professional in the United States and New Zealand since 2005. He is currently a member of the Pittsburgh Riverhounds in the United Soccer League.
Severs' presence also should help revitalize the program.
"We're extremely excited about Chad," Gorman said. "He's going to make the Holy Spirit soccer program attractive."
Severs always wanted to coach. He took coaching and sports management classes at Penn State. He was an assistant coach at Lebanon Valley College, a Division III school in Annville, Pa., for a season after graduating Penn State.
"That gave me the confidence that (coaching) was something I wanted to do down the line," Severs said.
Severs replaces Ralph Busco, who coached the Spartans for two seasons. Busco resigned for family and business reasons.
Severs spotted an advertisement for the position and contacted Gorman.
"It's all about timing," Severs said. "I'm at an age where I have start thinking about the future."
Spirit finished 9-8-1 last season. Still, Severs takes over a program that has struggled in the past. Football is the dominant fall boys sport at Spirit.
"It's going to be a challenge," Severs said, "but I look at it as a great opportunity. What coach wouldn't want the chance to be given the reins and build their own program?"
Severs' season with the Riverhounds ends in the middle of August, giving him plenty of time to practice with the Spartans.
Severs said he wants his players to benefit from his experiences.
"I want to use all my contacts and what I've learned to be a liaison for players between high school and the collegiate and professional levels," he said.
Severs isn't retiring as a player. He will continue playing in the spring and summer.
"I still love the game," he said.
But he sounds as if he also has a passion for coaching. Severs also plans to run camps for area soccer players.
"I am committed to Holy Spirit soccer," he said.
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