Steve Armas, who has helped build the Campbell University men’s soccer program into a regional and national contender, is in his second year as head coach of the Fighting Camels.
A former collegiate and professional standout, Armas spent the 2006-09 seasons as an assistant coach at Campbell before accepting the head coaching job in January 2010.
Over the past five seasons, Armas helped guide the Camels to three Atlantic Sun Conference trophies, the team’s first-ever berth in the NCAA College Cup and a year-end national ranking at the Division I level.
Now, the former Maryland and MLS standout is set to lead the Camels back into Big South Conference play.
“We are excited to join the Big South, and look forward to developing rivalries within the conference,” said Armas. “One of the challenges of moving to a new conference is the unknown that lies ahead. We will work diligently to prepare and compete in each of our in conference matches.”
During that span, Campbell won the 2008 and 2009 A-Sun regular season championships, while garnering the 2007 A-Sun tournament crown. Since Armas’ arrival in 2006, the Fighting Camels have compiled a 51-38-10 overall record (.566), including a 29-9-5 mark (.733) in the Atlantic Sun Conference regular season. The Camels finished ranked among the top-10 in the final South Region poll in 2006, 2007 and 2008 and earned the school’s first year-end national ranking (No. 25) in 2008 at the Division I level.
Since arriving at CU, Armas has mentored seven Campbell players who have been named to the All-South teams as well as 27 who have been named to the Atlantic Sun all-conference teams. In addition, 53 Campbell players have earned a place on the A-Sun All-Academic Teams.
Armas has helped develop the last two A-Sun players of the year (Vince Petrasso and Richard Jata), the 2007 Atlantic Sun freshman of the year (Josue Soto) and the ‘07 A-Sun tournament MVP (Petrasso). His players have gained All-America (Jata), freshman All-America (Soto) and Academic All-America (Devin Sheppard) notice as well.
In his first year as a head coach, Armas led his squad to a 6-9-4 overall mark and 4-5-0 record in the A-Sun, securing a berth in the league tournament for the sixth-consecutive year. Despite fielding a side that included a combined 59 starts by freshmen, Armas’ team was once again competitive, playing a total of 13 matches decided by one, or fewer, goals. CU also faced three nationally-ranked opponents and set a school record by playing to four draws.
Mitchell Cardenas was named to the 2010 A-Sun all-conference first team, while Ben Iiames earned second-team recognition. Justin Franz was named to the all-freshman squad, while 10 Camels earned a spot on the A-Sun all-academic team.
In 2009, Petrasso was selected as A-Sun Player of the Year and first-team all-conference after the Camels captured their second-straight league regular season title and third in the last five campaigns. Senior Justin Madrid, junior Khalil Johnson and freshman Mitchell Cardenas were named to the all-conference second team. Cardenas was joined on the all-freshman squad by teammates Justin Smith and Keegan Terry.
In 2008, the Camels won the A-Sun regular season crown with a perfect 9-0-0 mark, finished 14-6-0 overall, defeated 7th-ranked North Carolina for the third-straight year, and was rated third in the final South Region poll. CU finished the year as the third-highest scoring team in the nation (2.2) and set a school record with 12-consecutive victories.
The 2007 squad finished 13-6-3 overall, won the Atlantic Sun Conference tournament championship, and made the program’s first appearance in the NCAA College Cup. CU knocked off ACC member North Carolina for the second-straight year and finished seventh in the final South Region ranking.
Before arriving at Buies Creek in July 2006, Armas spent the previous two years as an assistant coach for both Greensboro College and the Carolina Dynamo of the United Soccer Leagues Premier Developmental League (PDL).
While at Greensboro College, Armas helped to guide the men’s program to a 2005 USA South Conference tournament championship and a second round NCAA tournament appearance. With the Carolina Dynamo, Armas has had the opportunity to coach some of the best Division I collegiate players in the country.
Two players from the 2005 Dynamo team have played in Major League Soccer -- Justin Moose of D.C. United and Floyd Franks of the Chicago Fire. The 2006 Dynamo squad included three Hermann trophy candidates.
A native of Germantown, Md., Armas played collegiately at the University of Maryland from 1995-98 and graduated in 2003 with a bachelor of arts in Spanish Language and Literature. He finished his career with 11 goals and 17 assists and ranks seventh among the school’s career assists leaders. He helped lead Maryland to an ACC Tournament championship and captained the team to an NCAA College Cup appearance, where Armas was selected to the NCAA All-Tournament team.
Armas had an impressive professional playing career which included stints with various clubs competing in Major League Soccer as well as the United Soccer League First and Second divisions. Armas played with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds of the USL2, where he helped the team capture the Atlantic Division and regular season championship. Armas spent the 2003 season with the Carolina Dynamo (USL2) where he played 17 games (1498 minutes), scored 5 goals and had 16 assists (2nd in the League) to help the Dynamo capture the regular season championship.
Drafted out of the University of Maryland in 1999 by the New England Revolution of MLS, Armas played with the Columbus Crew and Tampa Bay Mutiny of MLS as well as stints with USL First division clubs Atlanta Silverbacks, Minnesota Thunder and Cincinnati Riverhawks. He played in the U-17 World Cup in Japan, and also participated at the U-18, U-20 and U-23 national team levels. Armas holds a USSF “A” Coaching License.
Armas has also been especially active with the youth club community. He coached the ’92 Elite boy’s team of the Capital Area Soccer League (CASL) for two years, which won the NCYSA State cup in 2010 and a final four appearance in 2011. He currently is the head boys coach for the CASL ’95 Elite.
He coached the 92 Navy Boy’s team with the Triangle Futbol Club for two years (2007, 2008), guiding the group to two final four appearances and one championship in the NCYSA state cup, two championships at the Jefferson Cup in Richmond, Virginia and another appearance in the finals at the esteemed Disney Showcase in Orlando, Florida.
Additionally, Armas spent three years as head and assistant coach with the North Carolina Olympic Development Program ’93 Boys State Team.
He and his wife, Sarah, reside in Fuquay-Varina with their golden retrievers, Amos and Wrigley.