John Kerr, who was named head coach of the American Soccer League's F.C. Washington late Tuesday night, said yesterday that he is "kind of excited about the opportunity" and looking forward to getting started.
However, he scoffed at the notion of the job being anything more than a different one. "My new job?" he asked with a laugh. "No, no. This is not new. It seems like life in soccer always goes on."
For Kerr, 43, life and soccer have been just about one and the same.
A native of Scotland, Kerr started playing professionally at 17 and did so until he was 33. He played in Scotland, England, Canada, Mexico and the United States, including stops in the English and Mexican first divisions, the North American Soccer League and the old American Soccer League.
Kerr came to Washington as a member of the Diplomats in 1976 and has been in the area ever since. His playing career ended in 1977 when a dispute developed over his formation of an NASL Players Association. He then moved into amateur coaching and the formation of players associations for the old ASL and the Major Indoor Soccer League.
Kerr's boys' team, Montgomery United, won two national age-group championships, and his men's team, the Fairfax Spartans, lost in the U.S. Soccer Federation's Open Cup national semifinals in 1985 and won the 1986 Amateur Cup championship.
"I believe in the development of the American player as being the only way soccer can succeed in this country," said Kerr, many of whose amateur players have gone on to become professionals. "We don't need the gimmicks and all that other stuff. What we need is credibility. We want to be able to stack up against teams from the rest of the world and have those guys say, 'Hey, these guys can play.' "
F.C. Washington and the Maryland Bays will have the opportunity to make international comparisons when Southampton of the English First Division plays here July 25 and in Baltimore July 29. Sites for both games remain to be determined.