After being part of the prosperous soccer programs at Camden Hills Regional High School for nearly a decade, Justin Varney is prepared to move that culture north.

That is because the 33-year-old Varney, a 2006 Belfast Area High School graduate, has been named as the boys varsity soccer coach at his alma mater.

“Obviously, I am excited,” said Varney. “It is going to be a lot of fun. BAHS has a great history of being a soccer school and Belfast, a soccer community. I am looking forward to being another part of reigniting that enthusiasm we have here.”

Varney replaces Howard Fogg, who led the Lions three years.

Varney played one year of basketball and two years of tennis for the Lions, along with four years of soccer. He was team captain his junior and senior years and eventually went on and played four years of collegiate soccer at Colby-Sawyer College in New London, N.H.

He graduated from Colby-Sawyer in 2010 with a degree in exercise and sports science.

He is employed by AthenaHealth in Belfast and previously was the assistant program director at The PITCH in Warren.

Belfast athletic director Matt Battani said, “I’m thrilled to be working with Justin.”

“I hope Justin’s tenure will be a long and successful one and we are working together now to identify candidates for the assistant positions,” Battani said.

“He is the perfect person for the job,” said longtime Camden Hills boys soccer coach Ryan Hurley, who had Varney as an assistant nine seasons. “He knows what it takes to run a successful program, has been to state championships and what is important long-term for student-athletes. He loves his hometown and no one is going to work harder to bring the program back to the prominence it held in the late 1990s and early-2000s than him. I’m excited for him and I think he’ll do a great job.”

“Coaching for Camden Hills under Ryan has been an experience I hope never to forget,” said Varney. “He has been and continues to be a great mentor. He taught me the confidence and dedication it takes to win and what it means to coach with integrity.”

Varney said during his days playing at Colby-Sawyer as a midfielder and outside defender, while he was never one of the team’s top players, “I do believe I absorbed more information than most and had a lot of fun doing it.”

It was during that time he felt coaching would be an obtainable goal down the road. And midway through his tenure at Camden Hills — in addition to his two years at Dutch Soccer Academy — "I realized this was something I wanted to study and grow into," he said.

Varney said he does not have a particular coaching style and “changing styles is what makes coaching so fun.”

“We will play to score every game and focus on the fundamentals,” he said. “Choosing a style of play will be based on the collective strengths and weaknesses of the athletes. There are many formations and the adaptations are endless.”

The newly-married Varney, and his wife, Erin, reside in Northport.