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11

Jul, 2018

Opportunity Knocks for Coach Martin

Story by Andy States
Published in The Calvert Recorder 7/11/18

Over roughly the past half-decade, the overwhelming majority of the time Brian Martin has spent on a soccer field has either been at or representing Huntingtown High School.

That will be changing in the coming season, as Martin will be heading a few miles south to The Calverton School. The longtime Huntingtown assistant boys soccer coach will be taking the reins of the Cougars boys soccer team as a co-head coach, coaching alongside Jason Roxx, who has been at Calverton the past couple of years in various capacities with the D.C. United Academy.

In addition to coaching on Huntingtown’s staff, Martin has played an integral role in the Bermuda’s Brazilian Soccer Camp, which will be held for the fourth consecutive year at Huntingtown this summer. The camp features coaches and players from Bermuda serving as instructors, and in part led to Martin’s opportunity at Calverton.

“We went over to Calverton to talk to them about bringing international players into Calverton into the boarding school,” Martin said. “One thing led to another, and they were like, ‘We need a head coach over here.’ [Huntingtown head boys soccer coach Charlie Russell] and I talked about it and it was beneficial for all of us.”

Martin has served a variety of roles on the Hurricanes’ staff for Russell, who has been the program’s head coach since the 2014 season. During that span, Huntingtown has won a pair of regional championships and reached the 2014 Class 3A state championship game. The coaches also worked together on the soccer camp, which has grown exponentially since its initial year.

“Charlie and I have been together for six years at Huntingtown,” Martin said. “I head coached the JV, was an assistant on varsity and was goalkeeper coach. It was such a great experience. Charlie and I just worked well together. Then we decided to make the camp an organization, Bermuda Soccer International. ... I don’t think I ever could have left to go to Northern or Calvert, but this situation is so unique. It just worked out perfectly.”

While Huntingtown has been rather successful over the past few seasons, and is coming off one of the less successful recent years that still saw the Hurricanes log a 10-4 overall record, Calverton has been a bit down.

The Cougars have traditionally been competitive within the Metro Independent Schools Athletic League and have won MISAL championships, but are coming off a 4-9 campaign last fall. That actually makes the position all the more appealing to Martin.

“I love the ground level, ground zero building,” Martin said. “Some people like to go in and have lots of pieces to the puzzle and just move them around. I like building from scratch, basically. They’re a young team and soccer has never been a real big focus over there and I want to change that. Jason and I are going to change that whole mindset. There are athletes there, but not everybody plays soccer. To build a program over there is exciting.”

Boxx has been at Calverton since 2016, initially as a D.C. United Academy residential program assistant and assistant coach for the U-18 and U-16 squads and later as the residential program coordinator and U-12 head coach. He, too, looks forward to the challenge of trying to restore Calverton and hopefully guide the program to new heights.

“In recent years it’s always been a school that’s done well in its conference. The last couple years have maybe been slightly off what they’ve done in the past, so we’re looking to build now in the next couple of years,” said Boxx, a 2016 graduate of the State University of New York-Cortland who is originally from London. “It’s an exciting project. We’re trying to return the school back to the days when they won championships and everything like that.

“One of the biggest things, especially for me and my background, soccer is still relatively new in terms of popularity in the U.S. It has risen a lot over the last four, five, six years. There’s actually a lot of interest in soccer in Southern Maryland. To have a team that shows they can compete well is something exciting and something we want to build here. As soccer keeps growing with the popularity, it will be good to keep that going and with a good team it will hopefully help the school, as well.”

The partnership between Boxx and Martin came about quickly after the two had met.

“We were discussing the possibility of maybe getting some Bermudan players to play with D.C. United,” Boxx said. “We just kind of hit it off straight away. We have a lot of the same ideas. We both want to achieve something big here. We got together and thought maybe there was something we could do with Calverton.”

While Martin will be splitting off from Huntingtown, there is no plan on it altering anything with the soccer camp he and Russell have worked together on. In fact, the hope is that it only serves to help the camp continue to grow.

“The whole purpose of doing the Bermuda camp was to give our kids in the county an opportunity to get better,” Martin said. “People go up to Bethesda, D.C., wherever to get this type of training. We bring the Bermuda coaches over to try to provide the highest level of soccer training here. That is really going to help Calverton and the kids who play at Calverton who maybe never went the camp. Now maybe they’ll go to the camp. It’s a win-win for everyone.”

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