Roo wins championship

Brian Sanders

Former UMKC soccer player Levi Coleman.
Former UMKC soccer player Levi Coleman.

Rookie Levi Coleman was on the field as the final seconds wound down on the Charleston Battery’s title-winning season in the United Soccer League Division 2.

It wasn’t long ago Coleman was a member of the UMKC men’s soccer team as they won the program’s third title in 2008.

After the completion of his education last fall, Coleman was invited to the yearly USL Players Combine hosted in Charleston.

It was there he impressed representatives of the Battery and was offered a two year contract. In doing so, Levi became the second Kangaroo to play soccer at the professional level.

“I got invited to the Combine, where they have over 50 players who are looked at by the six teams of the league,” Coleman said. “The local side, Charleston, were the most impressed.”

After one year, he saw significant playing time coming off the bench. Coleman is the first former UMKC soccer player to win a title in a professional league.

How he made his way to UMKC is a different story.

After two years of little playing time at Florida International University, a roommate of Coleman’s suggested UMKC. Coleman saw this as a logical move as it’s closer to his home in Oklahoma.

The transfer was completed, and after waiting out a year, he played for UMKC in 2008. He helped the Kangaroos to their third NCAA tournament appearance in program history.

In a year, he developed as a player on a professional level. Coleman was able to play against players in one of the best leagues in the world, the English Premier League.

“In July, the Bolton Wanderers of the English Premier League came to Charleston to play a friendly match as they got ready for their upcoming season. I was put on at the beginning of the second half playing the entire 45 minutes,” Coleman said. “It was at a faster pace than our usual games which challenged me.”

Apart from the league, Coleman has made his presence known to those in the U.S. Open Cup. The Open hosts all professional teams in the U.S. from United Soccer Leagues (USL) to Major League Soccer (MLS).

As Charleston made a run to the quarterfinals, Coleman was able to push the team on with a goal in the first round game. In a knockout competition, a single goal means crashing out or proceeding to the next round.

As Coleman’s triumphant first season comes to a close, he looks to play the winter season in Kansas City with the Missouri Comets

Coleman hopes to win himself a contract for playing in the winter months.

“A lot of players at our club play indoor in the winter,” Coleman said. “It keeps our fitness up in the outdoor off-season.”

A title in a rookie season when there is ample playing time seems to be a sign Coleman is destined to be a successful player in the years to come.

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