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Photo by Abby Carr / Derek Greene talks with former Vanderbilt soccer player Simone Charley. Simone now plays for the Portland Thorns of the NWSL.

Development has been a key part of Derek Greene's coaching career, which spanned 18 seasons at four colleges, including Carson-Newman to Vanderbilt.

He hopes he can bring similar success to his next stop.

The Chattanooga Red Wolves have brought Greene in to become their new executive vice president for the youth soccer academy. He served most recently as the director of corporate sponsorships and marketing for the Tennessee Soccer Association.

"The opportunity to come in and work inside a professional youth organization was too good to pass up," Greene said by phone Tuesday. "I grew up in Tennessee, so I have a lot of passion for Tennessee and the things that go on inside of it and especially in the sport of soccer. I was sort of the first generation that came along playing soccer, and I've been blessed to stay involved.

"So with that, seeing the resources and the commitment that the Red Wolves' organization has for soccer and the chance to influence the game at all levels from recreational to competitive to pro and create that pathway for kids in Chattanooga is something that is really exciting."

Greene's coaching career started as an assistant at Carson-Newman, where he helped guide the Lady Eagles to their first-ever appearance in the Division II South Atlantic Conference semifinals. From there he went to Ole Miss as an assistant, where from 2002 to 2008 the program made three NCAA tournament appearances and won the 2005 Southeastern Conference West Division title.

He spent a year as an assistant at Belmont, where the Bruins earned a share of the Atlantic Sun title for the first time, before moving on to Vanderbilt, where he served as head coach for four seasons, winning 24 games with 10 ties.

In Chattanooga his goal to try to create accessibility and affordability to people not just within the city, but in nearby areas such as Dalton and Cleveland.

"We don't want anyone to not have an opportunity to engage in a pathway to pro (soccer) because of finance," Greene said. "For us to be successful, we want to find ways through connecting with local businesses, with local partners in the community that we can allow everybody to be part of the Red Wolves' organization if they want to be and to be inclusive.

"And at the end of the day, while we want to create pro soccer players, we also want to be influencers in the game at all levels."

Participants of League One of the United Soccer League, the Chattanooga Red Wolves are currently in small-group training in accordance with state and local health officials in hopes of being able to resume play at some point this season.

Contact Gene Henley at ghenley@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @genehenley3.

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