TACOMA, WASH. – Sounders FC today announced that Wade Webber has been named Tacoma Defiance Head Coach, replacing Chris Little, who was hired as an Assistant Coach for the Colorado Rapids earlier today. Webber, a longtime Sounders player from the USL era, has spent the last three seasons as an Assistant Coach for Tacoma. Webber has an extensive youth coaching history in Western Washington. Additionally, Sounders FC U-17 Head Coach Mike Morris and Sounders FC Academy & USL Goalkeeper Coach Josh Ford move full-time to the Defiance staff as Assistant Coaches.
“First off, I’d like to thank Chris Little for his service to the organization. He has been critical in helping overhaul our development pipeline and I’m thrilled for him to get this opportunity in Colorado,” said Sounders FC General Manager & President of Soccer Garth Lagerwey. “We are excited to elevate Wade Webber, who has worked side-by-side with Chris and the rest of our development staff for the past five years. It’s always a privilege to be able to promote from within and reward people instrumental to our success with new opportunities. We have full confidence in Wade and look forward to the leadership that he, Mike Morris and Josh Ford can provide.”
Hired as an Assistant Coach for Tacoma Defiance in January of 2018, Webber supported former Head Coaches John Hutchinson (2018) and Little (2019-2020). In his time as an Assistant in Tacoma, Webber has coached dozens of players from the Sounders FC Academy and helped seven USL players move up and sign a First Team contract, five of which were Homegrown Players. Webber becomes the fourth Head Coach in the history of Tacoma Defiance / Sounders FC 2, dating back to 2015.
“I am thankful to have had the opportunity to work with Chris Little and John Hutchinson and learned tremendously from both of them. They both made a significant impact on the club,” said Webber. “I also appreciate and am humbled by the responsibility given to me by the Sounders to continue to working with the promising young talent in our developmental system. We are at an exciting time both in Seattle and the United States when so many young players are demonstrating they can make an impact at the Major League Soccer level. We will not rest in our efforts to help our players improve so they can continue to help the first team in their pursuit of championships.”
Webber brings with him a decade of professional playing experience from 1986-1999, including 53 MLS appearances for Dallas and Miami from 1997-1999. The defender attended the University of Portland from 1985-1988, leading the Pilots to the NCAA Final Four as a senior. A Federal Way native, Webber won three consecutive state championships at Thomas Jefferson High School in Federal Way, as well as Washington’s first national club championship with Goalpost SC U-16 in 1983.
“Wade’s connection to the Sounders goes back over 20 years, first as a player, then as a broadcaster and more recently as a coach within our current organization,” said Sounders FC Head Coach Brian Schmetzer. “It’s always nice to be able to give an opportunity to one of our own, and I look forward to working with Wade further. Additionally, I’d like to thank Chris Little for the time and impact he made here. He’s a very good coach and I wish him the best in the next chapter of his career.”
Since retiring from playing, Webber has coached youth soccer extensively throughout Western Washington, including two seasons with the Sounders FC Academy (2016-2017) and the previous seven as Director of Coaching for Washington Premier FC. In his time with Washington Premier FC, Webber accumulated a record of 596-183-126, with four state championships and two regional titles. His prior coaching stops included Norpoint FC (1999-2003), Federal Way Reign (2003-2005) and FC Royals (2005-2006). He joined the Washington State EDP/ODP program in 2015, where led the 2001 Boys (U-15) to the Region IV Championship. Webber has a USSF A License and Master’s in Teaching from Seattle University. He has also served as a radio analyst for Sounders FC broadcasts since 2012.
Little was promoted to Head Coach of Sounders FC’s USL side in January of 2019 and accumulated a 12-29-9 record over two seasons. Prior to his time in Tacoma, Little saw success in the club’s Academy ranks, leading Sounders FC’s U-17 squad to the 2017-2018 U.S. Soccer Development Academy National Championship and the 2018 U-17 Generation Adidas Cup championship. He has coached over 20 Academy players that have been involved with U.S. Youth National Teams and was named the 2018 U-16 / U-17 U.S. Development Academy West Coast Division Coach of the Year. Little joined Sounders FC in 2017 from Elon University, where he won four conference championships and made three NCAA Tournament appearances, in addition to being named the 2015 Coach of the Year in the Midwest Region.
“I want to thank Chris first and foremost for everything he’s done within the developmental side, as his devotion to the players and passion for coaching has been incredible,” said Sounders FC Director of Player Development Henry Brauner. “He’s helped build the framework and pioneered the way we approach and develop our most high potential players. Colorado is getting an incredible human and coach. We are excited for his opportunity and thankful for the impact he’s had on everyone here at the Sounders.”
Morris, who has been with Sounders FC since the club formed in 2009, has been a longtime integral member of the club’s development programs, most recently serving as Head Coach of the U-17s. Prior to serving as a coach and scout within the Academy, Morris oversaw Sounders FC’s Youth Camps, expanding the program under his leadership to offer a wide variety of programs for boys and girls of all ages, in addition to camp experiences for adults. The Washington native played collegiate soccer at Seattle Pacific University and spent two seasons with the USL-1 Sounders.
Ford has been on staff with Sounders FC as an Academy and USL goalkeeping coach since 2016, after spending four seasons with the club as a player from 2011-2014. He also spent time as a player with Orlando City SC, in addition to the Orange County Blues, Fort Lauderdale Strikers and San Antonio SC. Ford had a standout career at the University of Connecticut, where he was named 2010 Big East Goalkeeper of the Year and set career records in shutouts, wins and consecutive starts.
“We are excited to be able to grow both Michael and Josh into their roles, as well. We feel that our players’ ambitions and expectations must also be reflected in our developmental coaches and staff,” said Brauner. “Josh and Michael’s commitment to the players and enthusiasm for coaching is apparent everyday in training and this will coincide with the ongoing process of developing our highest potential players into our first team.”