Sporting KC Academy announces head coaches ahead of 2022-23 MLS NEXT season

The Sporting Kansas City Academy has announced a head coaching reshuffle ahead of the 2022-23 MLS NEXT season.

Sporting KC Academy U-17 head coach Chris O’Neal, U-15 head coach Luis Pacheco and U-14 head coach Colby Childress have all moved up to the older divisions after serving as Sporting head coaches at U-15 and U- 13 were active or U-12 level.

Declan Jogi, who was announced today as the new director of the Sporting KC Academy, will also act as the club’s U-19 head coach. In addition, former Sporting KC midfielder and Sporting KC II captain Christian Duke has joined the academy’s technical team as the new U-12 and U-13 head coach.

Sporting KC Academy coaches for the MLS NEXT season 2022-23

O’Neal will lead the U-17s after four successful seasons with Sporting KC U-15s. He holds a US Soccer A License and an Elite Formation Coaching License from the French Football Federation. His coaching career includes previous positions as coaching director of the Cincinnati United Premier Development Academy, director of the Vestavia Hills Soccer Club in Alabama and director of the Southern Soccer Academy in Georgia. O’Neal has also coached at several training camps for the United States U-14 and U-15 youth national teams. He played collegiately at the University of Alabama-Birmingham and competed professionally with the Atlanta Silverbacks in the USL First Division.

Pacheco will oversee the U-15s after serving as Sporting’s U-13 head coach since 2017. He holds a US Soccer A license and competed in collegiate tournaments at the University of Louisville, where he helped the Cardinals reach the 2010 College Cup before beginning his youth work in 2011 at his career club. He was also a volunteer assistant in Louisville from 2016 to 2017.

U-14 head coach Colby Childress has spent the last five years with the Sporting KC U-12 team, who were crowned 2018 Generation Adidas Cup and Premier SuperCopa champions, among others. He began his coaching career at Tennessee youth club Fusion FC (2010-2012). ) and FC Dallas TRI (2012-2013), then served as a graduate assistant coach at King University in Tennessee (2013-2014), as director of operations for the Georgia Southern University men’s soccer team (2014-2016), and as a technical program assistant employed by Birmingham United Soccer Association (2016-2017). He played as a collegiate player at King University from 2008 to 2012 and holds a US Soccer A license.

The newest addition to the Sporting KC Academy technical team, Duke is the older brother of current Sporting midfielder Cam Duke. A native of Overland Park, Kansas, he enjoyed a nine-year playing career in Major League Soccer and the USL Championship from 2013-2021, including his first two professional seasons with Sporting in 2013-2014 and two separate tenures as captain of Sporting KC II in 2016-2017 and 2020-2021. The 2013 MLS Cup winner later led SKC II, formerly Swope Park Rangers, to back-to-back USL Western Conference championships in 2016 and 2017. Earlier this year he had a brief stint with the Kansas City Comets of the Major Indoor Soccer League.

Before retiring as a player, Duke coached at Sporting Blue Valley and assisted at Sporting KC Academy practice sessions while taking US soccer coaching courses. He began his post-playing career in early 2022, providing private soccer coaching to youth players across Kansas City.

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