Marc Nicholls Leaves Seattle Sounders to Join Charlotte MLS as Technical Director
Marc Nicholls, a two-time U.S. Soccer Coach of the Year, leaves Seattle Sounders to help build the new MLS expansion club from scratch.
After a successful track record, Marc Nicholls is leaving the Seattle Sounders to join the MLS Expansion team in Charlotte MLS as the Technical Director. The new team, MLS’ 30th, will begin to play in 2021 at the Bank of America Stadium in downtown Charlotte and has yet to be officially named.
Nicholls became Seattle Sounders’ Head Coach in 2013 and Academy Technical Director in 2014. The two-time U.S. Academy coach of the year (2010 and 2012) has helped develop more than 20 U.S. youth internationals in the past 12 months and 15 Academy players have signed professional contracts with the MLS or the USL in the past three seasons.
Nicholls is not only revered for his ability to recruit talent and develop players but also for inspiring his teams to achieve peak performance. Among many other successes, Seattle’s U17s are the only MLS team to reach the final of the Generation adidas Champions Division after a win over Valencia’s U-17s.
What is Nicholls’ player development philosophy that has proven so successful?
“Being warm and kind as well as tough and strict.”Marc Nicholls, Technical Director Charlotte MLS
“People might think this approach is a contradiction, but it is absolutely not,” explained Nicholls whose passion for the game and the depth of his desire to see his players reach their potential is clearly evident.
“It is a great time to be in the MLS, there is not a better more vibrant league in the world.”
Nicholls is Charlotte MLS’ second technical staff appointment, following the announcement of Sporting Director Zoran Krneta on December 31.
Nicholls’ wealth of success in player development is highly valued. “Marc is a crucial addition to our team,” said Tom Glick, president of Tepper Sports and Entertainment. “He brings a wealth of experience in Major League Soccer and our region, and he has built high performing teams.
“It’s great to have him join us right now, as we build from the ground up, including constructing our youth academy, establishing partnerships with other soccer organizations, confirming our coaching methods and laying pathways for young players into our senior team,” said Glick.
In many ways, Nicholls is returning to North Carolina where he previously spent eight years coaching at the North Carolina Fusion and in technical leadership roles with Greensboro United and the Winston Salem Twins.
“Soccer is the world’s greatest unifier of race and it is great that the city of Charlotte will welcome its MLS team next year.”Marc Nicholls, Technical Director Charlotte MLS
“I’m delighted to be joining Charlotte MLS,” Nicholls said. “I was immediately struck by the quality of the people and the vision of our leadership group. This area has a great soccer tradition, and although it is our ambition to have worldwide appeal, we can’t wait to build a club that will represent the region.”
When will the first players for this expansion club be announced? Soon is the simple answer. “We have already started watching film, scouting and analyzing potential players,” said Nicholls in a telephone interview today.
Establishing a new MLS club is an exciting, groundbreaking project. “It is very exciting to be a part of building this from the start,” said Nicholls. “ And, I really look forward to working with Zoran.”
What are Nicholls’ goals? “To build a club where everyone knows who we are and what we stand for.”
Nicholls’ idea is to create a club with high quality, non-negotiable standards that provide a clear pathway for player development. “This will be a club where everyone’s values are respected and we all share the same vision,” added Nicholls.
Nicholls also believes the MLS club will reflect the fast-growing city of Charlotte and its diverse ethnicities.
“This club will be a place where you go every day to become better.”Marc Nicholls, Technical Director Charlotte MLS
What kind of soccer can we expect to see played by this new expansion team?
“A high energy, fast-paced, attacking style of soccer that creates goal-scoring opportunities,” said Nicholls. “And, good teamwork that emphasizes the collective is also important because you never want to get away from the fact that soccer is a game of 11v11.”
“Marc’s knowledge and experience will be invaluable as we work together to build Charlotte MLS and get us ready for 2021,” said Zoran. “His expertise and outstanding record of achievements to date in developing young players, along with his deep understanding of the soccer landscape in the area, make Marc the natural choice for this role.”
In addition, Nicholls currently sits on the MLS Player Development Sub-Committee and is a member of the Education Department at U.S. Soccer, where he holds a mentoring role for club leaders and coaches.