Seattle Sounders FC Academy Staff

Director of Player Development

Henry Brauner

Nationality: United States/Philippines | Been with the Sounders since: 2020

Academy Director

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

U-17 Head Coach

Steve Cooke

Nationality: USA | Been with the Sounders since: 2021

Head of Academy Recruitment | U-15 Head 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

Development 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

Performance Coach

Vince McCluskey

Nationality: USA | Been with the Sounders since: 2021

Assistant Development Athletic Trainer

Eli Strom

Nationality: USA | Been with the Sounders since: 2021

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

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