December 23, 2011
THE YEAR'S BEST -- NO. 8
Armas returns home -- again -- at Adelphi
Former MLS all-star and U.S. international midfielder Chris Armas returned home in 2011.
|Chris Armas returned home again in 2011 -- as Adelphi women's coach.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
Well, he had been living on his native Long Island since he retired from the Chicago Fire and with a year's stint as an assistant coach with the Major League Soccer club.
But Armas had another home -- Adelphi University, where he starred almost 20 years ago for former Panthers coach Bob Montgomery's team.
Armas took on the responsibilities as Adelphi women's coach.
"I am overjoyed that an alumnus the stature of Chris Armas has agreed to be our next head women's soccer coach," Adelphi athletic director Bob Hartwell said in a statement. "His career at Adelphi led to a lengthy career of both national and international competition, building an immense soccer resume.
"Adelphi also knows our 'Hall of Famer' brings much more than an outstanding soccer portfolio to our campus. His teaching skills, passion, leadership and personality will make all our programs better."
Armas who has coached on the youth level with the Massapequa Soccer Club and the Albertson S.C., brought a wealth of soccer knowledge and background to the Panthers.
An integral member of the 1995 U.S. Interregional Soccer League champions Long Island Rough Riders that include future MLS standouts Tony Meola, Giovanni Savarese and Jim Rooney, Armas went on to become a perennial MLS all-star for the Los Angeles Galaxy and the Chicago Fire. He was named a member of the MLS Best XI five times and played in MLS Cup four times, winning the trophy with the Fire in its expansion season in 1998.
Armas forged a reputation as the top defensive midfielder in the league, regularly covering and shutting down the likes of Marco Etcheverry, Carlos Valderrama, Preki and Mauricio Cienfuegos.
The Brentwood, N.Y. native made 66 appearances for the U.S. National Team, but never played in a World Cup because of two untimely knee injuries. He retired after the 2007 MLS season to become a Fire assistant coach, before returning to Long Island to coach youth soccer in 2009.
"My family and I are grateful to Mr. Hartwell and Adelphi University for this opportunity and I am honored to continue the legacy of success created by Rich Ilsley," Armas said. "I am extremely excited to take on this new challenge and it feels great to be back home here at Adelphi. My goal is to keep building a program that Adelphi University, our alumni, the community and our entire team can be proud of."
Armas certainly had the some big shoes to fill. The man he succeeded, Rich Ilsley, was the winningest coach in Adelphi soccer history, directing the Panthers to a 275-91-30 record. That included 10 trips to the Division I NCAA Division II tournament, five Final Four appearances and two national finals (1992 and 2004). The Panthers were 8-8-1 last year.
Ilsley also was named the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Northeast coach of the year in 1990, the Nassau County Sports Commission college coach of the year in 2002 and was a three-time conference coach of the uear in the East Coast Conference. He is also the fifth all-time winning’s coach in Division II with those 275 wins while producing eight All-Americans and 42 All-Region honorees.
Armas and Adelphi endured a rocky road in his first season as coach. The Panthers finished at 8-8-1 overall and 7-7-1 in the Northeast-10 Conference. They were eliminated in the conference quarterfinals to eventual NCAA Division II champions College of St. Rose.