Technical Director

Marc Nicholls

The two-time U.S. Academy coach of the year (2010 and 2012) joined the Seattle Sounders staff after three years (2011-13) as the Head Coach of the Carolina Dynamo of the USL PDL, where he led the team to the division title in all three seasons, including a PDL National Final appearance in 2012 and U.S. Soccer National Championship in 2013.

He also served as Technical Director for NC Fusion, leading the club to three appearances in U.S. Academy Nationals, including a third-place finish for the U-18 squad in 2012. Before arriving in Seattle, he also combined his PDL coaching position with a scouting role for Montreal Impact.

Nicholls holds his USSF National “A” License, the FIFA Futuro III program, as well as the prestigious French Formation License. He is currently a national staff member for U.S. Soccer.

Nationality: United States / England | Been with the Sounders since: 2013

U-19 Head Coach

Michael Morris

Michael Morris joined Sounders FC in 2009 after playing with the team in the USL First Division from 2007-2008 and for Seattle Pacific University from 2003-2006. Morris served as a head coach at Pacific Northwest Soccer Club before assuming a role in the Sounders FC Academy in 2014. 

Michael Morris also assists with the Sounders Discovery Program, is a player scout, and serves as a head coach for Washington State EPD.

Nationality: United States | Been with the Sounders since: 2009

U-17 Head Coach

Gary Lewis

Gary Lewis joined Seattle Sounders as U-16/17 coach in August 2019 having previously served as U-16/17 coach for the Philadelphia Union for 4 years.

Lewis started his career working the youth academy at Liverpool FC in England coaching the U-6 – U-9 groups, then having achieved the UEFA A Coaching License he moved on to Derby County and was appointed as Head Coach for the U-14 group.

In 2005 Lewis was offered the opportunity to move to established Premier League club Everton and was given the role of Head Coach with the U-13 group. Following a successful period of player development Lewis then moved back to Liverpool FC as Head of the Youth Development phase coaching ages 12 through to the U-23 groups working closely with many current professional players.

An opportunity to live and work in America was offered by the Football Club USA to become National Director of Coaching. Following a short spell, Lewis was appointed as Head Coach of the U-14 group with Major League Soccer’s Philadelphia Union, then in 2016 moved up to the U-17 group again as Head Coach gaining valuable experience of working in the US Development Academy.

Lewis holds the USSF A License, UEFA A License and FA Academy Managers License.

Nationality: England | Been with the Sounders since: 2019

Head of Affiliations and Club Partnership Development, U-15 Head Coach

Daniel Lock

Dan Lock joined Sounders Academy in 2016 originally in a duel role as an Academy Coach and a Director role with partner club Seattle United, overseeing the development of the U-12U8 age groups. As an Academy coach during this time, Lock coached the Sounders Discovery Program U-14’s and was also the Assistant Coach to the U-17 Academy team. Highlights include a 3rd place finish in the 2017 Youdan Trophy, winning the 2018 Youdan Trophy and Assistant Coach to the U-17’s as they won USSDA National Championship and Generation adidas Cup in 2018.

In 2018 Lock took on a full-time role with the club as Head Coach for the U15 Academy team as well as Head of Academy Affiliations. During his first season with the U15’s, they took 1st place in the DA Northwest Division finishing the season unbeaten, and advanced to the inaugural U15 DA Playoffs.

Prior to joining the Sounders Academy in 2016, Lock enjoyed success locally at Bellevue Community College, leading the Women’s program to a NWAC West Divisional Championship in 2015. He also has over 10 years extensive experience in the youth game more recently in roles as DOC for WA based club Cascade FC (SnVYSA) from 2012-2016 and Regional Director for UK Elite Soccer from 2012-2016. Additionally, he coached on the WYSA OPD staff from 2016-2018.

Lock holds a USSF A License, USC Premier Diploma and a Bachelors Degree in Sports Science and Sport Development.

Nationality: England | Been with the Sounders since: 2016

Sounders Discovery Program Manager and U-12 Coach

Brayton Knapp

Brayton Knapp joined Sounders FC in 2013 after playing in the MASL from 2010-2013.  A graduate of the University of Portland, where he played from 2005-2009, Knapp began his coaching career in 2009 as a U15/16 Development Academy Assistant Coach for FC Portland before joining Crossfire Premier Soccer Club as a Head Coach in 2011.  Knapp has also coached at Mercer Island Futbol Club and for Eastside FC.

Knapp now serves as the Sounders FC U-13/14 Assistant Coach, Sounders Discovery Program Head Coach, Scout and Manager of Soccer Programs.

Nationality: United States | Been with the Sounders since: 2011

Tacoma Defiance/Academy Goalkeeper Coach

Josh Ford

Josh began his career playing for the Rhode Island Stingrays after spending four years at the University of Connecticut where he was named the 2010 Big East Goalkeeper of the Year. He set career records at UConn in shutouts (50), consecutive starts (85) and wins (54).

Josh spent four seasons with Seattle Sounders FC, 2011-2014, before being selected by Orlando City SC in the 2014 MLS Re-Entry Draft. In 2015, he spent time on loan to the Fort Lauderdale Strikers where he made 16 starts. At the start of 2016, Josh signed with San Antonio FC for their 2016 debut USL season, before joining Sounders FC Academy staff.

Nationality: United States | Been with the Sounders since: 2011

Head of Developmental Performance

Max Lankheit

Nationality: German | Been with the Sounders since: 2019

Academy Head Athletic Trainer

Lucas Graham

Head of Academy Recruitment

Giuseppe DePalo

Prior to joining the Sounders Academy, DePalo was part of the first team staff at Miami FC as an Assistant Coach and won the NPSL National Championship in 2018. Prior to Miami FC, he coached Kendall SC 2003s in the US Development Academy in 2017 to a 2nd place finish in the Conference.In 2016 DePalo was the Head Coach of the Miami Fusion of the NPSL and lead the team to the 2nd round of the US Open Cup as well as a strong league finish. Prior to his NPSL experience, he served as Head Coach of (former NASL Club) Fort Lauderdale Strikers U-20s.

As a professional coach, Giuseppe earned an impeccable reputation for the job he did building the program at Nova Southeastern University, where he spent 17 seasons. At the time he was hired, Giuseppe was one the youngest Head Coaches in all of college soccer at age 26. As of 2015, With coaches totaling less than 20 years, the NCAA ranks Giuseppe in the top 15 in NCAA II in total wins.

A native of Milan, Italy, DePalo attended perennial soccer power Franklin Pierce in N. H. He helped the Ravens to back-to-back NCAA Division II Tournament appearances in 1993 and 1994.Upon graduating from Franklin Pierce in 1995 with a degree in International Business, he signed with the Connecticut Wolves of the USL. After two years with the Wolves, DePalo spent time with the Canton Invaders and Tampa Bay Terror of the Indoor NPSL, as well as the Albany Alleycats and New Hampshire Phantoms of the USL.

DePalo currently holds a USSF “A” License, as well as a UEFA A license.

Nationality: United States / Italy  | Been with the Sounders since: 2019

Head of Academy Operations

Lauren Babcock

Lauren moved to Seattle from Tampa, Florida and joined the Academy at the end of 2016 after working in the Sounders FC Pioneer Square Headquarters beginning in 2014. She was a key member in developing Sounders FC 2, now Tacoma Defiance, as the Gameday Operations Manager. In Tampa, Lauren worked in Game Presentation for the Tampa Bay Lightning in the NHL.

Nationality: United States | Been with the Sounders since: 2014

Head of Education

Diane Carney

Diane joined the Seattle Sounders Academy as the Head of Education and Welfare after serving as the Learning Services Director at the Annie Wright Upper School for Girls. She brings 20 years of experience with differentiated learning support, tutoring, standardized test preparation, and the college process. After earning a BS from Puget Sound and an MS from UW, Diane owned and operated University Tutoring Service in Seattle and Olympia for 13 years. When she’s not busy supporting the next generation of Sounders, Diane can be found behind a camera, on the slopes, or at her farm.

Nationality: United States | Been with the Sounders since: 2017