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ACADEMY STAFF


MARIO SANCHEZ
YOUTH ACADEMY DIRECTOR

Sanchez, a USSF A license coach with 21 years of NCAA Division I coaching experience as an assistant and head coach, joined Louisville City FC in 2019 as the Director of Youth Development. In addition to his academy duties, he has worked with both the LouCity and Racing Louisville FC first teams, leading the NWSL side as interim head coach to conclude its inaugural campaign in 2021. The California native played collegiately at Fresno State before playing for three teams in professional soccer until 2001. An assistant at his alma mater from 1999-2003, Sanchez moved to Akron for three seasons before becoming the head coach at UNLV. Sanchez was also part of the University of Louisville's most successful seasons as an assistant from 2010-2015 before he became the head coach at SIU Edwardsville in 2015. 


KRISTEN WALLACE
ACADEMY EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Having worked with Mockingbird Valley SC and Kentucky Fire Juniors since 2007, when eventual Louisville City FC founder Wayne Estopinal purchased the club, Wallace has had a presence full-time in youth soccer since 2011. She helped launch the Louisville Lightning PASL team in 2009 and assisted the fledgling Louisville City FC before it had full-time staff. Prior to working in soccer, Wallace worked on the business development team at TEG Architects and worked two seasons with the Louisville Fire arena football team. 


LUKE SPENCER
LOUISVILLE CITY ACADEMY DIRECTOR

The goal-scoring star of Louisville City FC's 2018 USL Championship Final win, Spencer is a club legend. Born in Augsburg, Germany, he played prep and collegiate soccer in the Cincinnati area at Xavier from 2009-2012 before being drafted by the New England Revolution of MLS and then playing with FC Cincinnati. Spencer came to Louisville in 2017 and immediately fit into the club’s competitive atmosphere. Spencer helped coach the club in 2018 during a leadership transition and joined the academy in 2020. Following the 2020 season, Spencer made the decision to hang up his boots and join the academy in his full-time role. 


TIM NOWAK
RACING LOUISVILLE ACADEMY DIRECTOR

With more than 20 years of coaching both girls’ youth and women’s collegiate soccer, including 17 years as an NCAA Division I and Division II head coach or assistant, Nowak brings a wealth of experience to the Racing Louisville FC Academy. The St. Louis native and Western Illinois University alum arrived in Louisville in 2001 as an assistant women’s soccer coach at the University of Louisville. Nowak has also coached collegiately at the University of Arkansas, Eastern Illinois University, Bellarmine University and Western Illinois University. Since 2010 he has been part of the girls’ youth program at Kentucky Fire Juniors and Mockingbird, where he has been influential in helping to grow the game for local young women in the Louisville area. Nowak holds a USSF C License and a United Soccer Coaches Association Advanced National Diploma.


KINCAID SCHMIDT
U8-U10 ACADEMY DIRECTOR

The Florida native came up through the IMG Academy youth program and competed collegiately at Division II Flagler College in her home state. After graduating, she began what has so far amounted to 11 years in coaching for a Florida club before her move to Colorado. With the Rapids, Schmidt concentrated on the junior academy before taking a leadership role in 2017 as a Zone 1 Technical Director overseeing ages 5-10 player development. Schmidt holds a National A License, National Youth License and Grassroots Instructor License. In addition to working within the academies’ youngest age groups, she will be tasked with seeking forward-thinking development opportunities to inspire a new generation of soccer players. She added to her responsibilities in the summer of 2022, coaching Racing Louisville FC's USL W League squad in its inaugural season.


DECLAN DOHERTY
RACING ASSISTANT ACADEMY DIRECTOR

A native of Belfast, Northern Ireland, Doherty was the head coach of the Ulster University Jordanstown women’s team and an assistant with Queens University Belfast men’s team before coming to America, where he worked with the Global Premier Soccer New York branch as its head coach and marketing director. Doherty helped lead the University of Buffalo to the MAC Championship in 2015 before joining the University of Evansville's staff in 2016. While working as an assistant coach and graduate assistant, Doherty helped guide the Purple Aces to the 2016 MVC Championship game and a 2018 MVC Semifinals appearance. He joined the University of Louisville women’s soccer program as a performance analyst in 2019 leading up to his start with the academy.


GUILLERMO SANCHEZ
LOUCITY ASSISTANT ACADEMY DIRECTOR

Sanchez was born in France, raised in Venezuela and moved to Denmark at age 17 as an exchange student. At 20, he arrived in the United States to compete collegiately for NAIA side Graceland University, where he also earned a degree in psychology and modern foreign languages. Upon graduation, Sanchez returned to Venezuela to play professionally before returning to Graceland to coach his alma mater, where he stayed for seven seasons — first as an assistant and then head coach. Sanchez went on to coach top-flight Venezuelan club Deportivo Tachira (2014-15) before stops at clubs in India (Northeast United, 2015), Paraguay (Cerro Porteño, 2016) and Bolivia (The Strongest, 2016).


JOE JESSOP
LOUCITY/RACING OLDHAM DIRECTOR

The Lincoln, England, native came to America to play collegiately at St. Catherine College. After three seasons with the Patriots, Jessop played his final season at Midway University in 2017. Currently also an assistant coach at Bellarmine University, Jessop was the academy director at Oldham Soccer Club from 2017 until earlier this year, when the organization joined the LouCity and Racing Academy. Jessop currently holds a USSF C License and is working toward his B License.


THABANE SUTU
ACADEMY GOALKEEPING DIRECTOR

A native of Maseru, Lesotho, Sutu has coached goalkeepers at the top levels of American soccer with Orlando City of MLS and Louisville City FC of the USL Championship. Sutu, who played professionally in Lesotho with Arsenal and in Egypt with the club Al Ahly, has been coaching top-level goalkeepers in the Louisville area for nearly two decades first. Sutu was inducted into the Kentucky Soccer Hall of Fame in 2018 for his work with Louisville City and his time with United 1996, winning Kentucky’s Coach of the Year in 2006 and a state title in 2009.


LIBBY STOUT
RACING ACADEMY GOALKEEPER DIRECTOR

Libby Stout most recently helped Southern Illinois University launch its women’s soccer program as an assistant coach there since 2018. The Louisville native now has the chance to mentor a number of players who were once in her shoes. A DuPont Manual graduate, Stout starred collegiately at Western Kentucky University, where she was an All-American while setting school records for wins, shutouts, goals against average and save percentage. Her 39 career shutouts still rank among the most all-time in NCAA Division I history. As a professional, Stout made stops in France, Germany, England and Cyprus. In 2014, she was a member of a Liverpool squad that won the league title while captained by current Racing first team defender Gemma Bonner. Stout also played in 2016 and 2017 for the former Boston Breakers of the NWSL.


CRAIG JONES
ACADEMY DIRECTOR OF SOCCER OPERATIONS

A successful head coach at Hanover College and a longtime assistant coach at Bellarmine University, Jones has been working with elite local soccer players for nearly two decades. A native of Washington where he played for Western Washington University, Jones earned his Master’s in sports administration from Louisville in 2002. In addition to his experience coaching collegiate soccer, Jones has more than a decade of experience coaching at the youth level with United 1996 and Kentucky Fire Juniors. He holds a USSF A License and a National Youth Coaching License.


MICHAEL ROMAN
SPORTS PERFORMANCE DIRECTOR

Roman was a prep star at Rio Mesa High School in Oxnard, Calif. He was a member of the Cal South Olympic Development Program, Region IV, and U.S. Youth National Team (U15 and U18), before playing collegiately for UCLA and the University of Louisville. Roman played with Ventura County Fusion of USL League Two, while he also began his coaching career. He has worked with Ventura County Fusion (CA), Vienna Youth Soccer (VA), Oldham Soccer Club, and Kentucky Country Day School. Roman holds his USSF C License, USYS National Youth License, is a Certified Personal Trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine, and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) through the National Strength and Conditioning Association.