Alliance Staff

Alex Armas

Born: Knoxville TN

Played club soccer from 2003-2010

Played Varsity soccer for West High School 2006-2010

Began coaching club soccer in 2007

Started coaching for FC Alliance in 2012 to present


                -Academy Select

                -Travel Level Teams

University of Tennessee Senior

Legislative intern for the 108th Tennessee General Assembly

Student worker for Naifeh center for Effective Leadership


Born in: Prishtina Kosovo

  Union des associations européennes de football - UEFA

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Education: Economics and German Degree-University of the South -Sewanee

Coaching License: USSF E License

Coaching History: Coached older teams previously for East Ridge Club in Chattanooga. Coached travel and select level Boys and Girls at FC alliance for several years.

Playing History: Played on Division One National Super League of Kosovo professional team. As a young player competed both in Club and High school level. Holds High school record scoring 28 goals in 13 games.

Four years starter varsity college soccer at Sewanee University. Kyle Rote Junior all tournament player for 3 years consecutively.


Craig Shields

Born: Norris, TN

Coaching Licenses: USSF State “E” License

Coaching History: Coached U6-U12 for 7 years.

Accomplishments: Co-founded FC Norris to provide Eastern Anderson County players a technically focused program that provides player development beyond rec league has helped grow that site to provide a venue that trains and enables over 100 players


Daniel Vieira

Confederación Sudamericana de Fútbol


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Born: Londrina, Brazil   

Education: Savannah College of Art and Design

Coaching License: USSF State “E” License

Playing History: Played collegiate soccer at SCAD as a goalkeeper. Coached for over 6 years.


Darrick Lubell

Born: Oak Ridge, TN

Education: Economics and Finance Degree -  University of Tennessee

Coaching License: USSF National “C” ...USSF Youth Module 1 ...USSF Youth Module 2... USYS National Youth License

Coach History: Started coaching through Thunderplex Elite 15 years ago....merged into Smokey Mountain Soccer Club which merged into TN Elite, which merged into Knoxville Crush, which then joined FC Alliance. Has been a director throughout the process and started the first academy level soccer program in Knoxville area. Has run leagues, camps, tournaments, and directed soccer activities throughout career in an effort to bring opportunity and quality to the Knoxville soccer area.

Notable Wins: Vulcan Cup Top Bracket Champion (multiple times) Atlanta Cup top bracket Champion multiple times) ...Multiple State Championships and Finalists at all levels including D1, D2, and D3


Dean Ward

  • Image result for english soccer logoUnion des associations européennes de football - UEFA





Born: Birmingham, England      

Education: BSC Coaching Science with Sport and Exercise Science from Manchester Metropolitan University – Cheshire. Currently, Masters in Coaching Education from Ohio University.

Coaching License: NSCAA Premier and Advanced National Diplomas in Coaching.  UEFA Levels I and II. NSCAA National, Regional and State Diplomas in GK Coaching.  

Playing History: Played in England at youth level representing Birmingham County sides.  

Accomplishments: Numerous tournament successes in South East and in California.  99B side recently won South Atlantic National Premier League.  Coached players that are now playing NCAA D1 soccer and also professionally in Europe.  



Drew Payne

Birthplace: Knoxville, TN

Education: B.A. History, B.A. Religion/Philosophy, Lincoln Memorial University

Coaching License:  TN State D License

Coaching History: Coached boys and girls, club and high school, since 2009.  Currently the boys Head Coach at Seymour High School.

Playing History: Club Soccer every year from 1990 to 2003 (SMSC 1998-2003).  Gibbs High School (2000-2003).  Lincoln Memorial University (2003-2006).


Coach Filip Leander

United States Soccer Federation (USSF) National ‘D’ License


Union des associations européennes de football - UEFA


Filip Leander, a native of Sweden, is beginning his fourteenth year as a competitive youth soccer coach.  During that time, he has coached both boys and girls teams to numerous state championships at the highest level, multiple state finalist finishes, and a long list of semifinalist honors.  In a three year span, he won four state championships, including two in one year with two different teams! In one of those championship games, his team held a 5-0 halftime lead and cruised to a 6-0 win under heavy second half scoring restrictions.

Despite his great success in Tennessee, it is Leander’s national success which stands out. Leander started the legendary Knoxville team Little Brazil and coached them from U8 to U13—they were ranked number 1 nationally (over more than 1,000 listed teams) on multiple occasions.  Another team, a girls team, also finished one of their seasons ranked number 1 nationally.  Leander led Little Brazil to all three of their state championships to date.  This also goes for another local juggernaut, Velocity Premier, where Leander guided them to their only state championship (2005).

Leander’s teams have won the top divisions of some of the most elite tournaments in the nation, feats which few from the area have achieved, especially with multiple teams.  This includes championships in the highest brackets of the Jefferson Cup, Atlanta Cup, CASL Shootout, Mead Cup, Adidas Women’s Invitational, Ohio FC Nike Challenge, OP Inivitational, Concorde Fire Challenge, Memphis SuperClubs, Vulcan Cup, and many other top tournaments. On several occasions, his teams have defeated as many as three state champions in one tournament.

His former players play all levels of college soccer, and many are currently major college prospects.  With a heavy focus on skill development, his Knoxville Football Club players generally have elite foot skill.  Despite the fact that his teams have so much success on the field, he states that his primary focus is on developing players, and the success is just a natural byproduct of good player development.  “My teams win a lot of games, but we don’t always win,” he says, “And that’s okay.  My focus is to make them better.  However, we are rarely outskilled, anywhere.”

His first competitive team was coming off a disappointing year when he inherited them, including multiple 0-3 tournament finishes.  Four months after taking them over, they had won three tournaments and were state semifinalists.  Multiple players from that team eventually went on to play college soccer, including NCAA Division One.

Leander played club soccer himself from U10-U19.  He played high school soccer at Oak Ridge High School.  His favorite memory was scoring against CAK, although “they weren’t anywhere near as good as they are now.”  Leander attended the University of Tennessee as both an undergraduate and graduate student, obtaining multiple degrees. He teaches English at Clinton High School during the day, and coaches soccer in the afternoons and on weekends. He is married to Cari Leander and has three kids, including twin daughters.



Frank Cravens

Born:  Orange City FL

Education:  HS/Some college/Technical Training

Coaching Licenses:  USSF State “E” License, NSCAA National Diploma

Coaching History:  12 years coaching both boys and girls (all ages) Division 1, 2 & 3

Playing History:  Played both Club and High School, FYSA ODP & U.S  U15 Boy National Team

Accomplishments: State Cup Finalist D2 U14 Girls, Champions-Nike Norcross Cup, Appalacian Fall Festival , ERSA

Isaac Gwin

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Image result for south atlantic region conference soccer logo     Image result for usl super20 soccer logo

Education: Senior in Supply Chain Management at the University of Tennessee

Born: Knoxville, TN

Coaching Licenses: USSF National "D" License

Coaching History: Coached soccer for 4 years in the Academy and Academy Select programs with FC Alliance. Coached Sacred Heart Cathedral School Boys team for a year.

Playing History: Played for local clubs in Knoxville, TN for 6 years with fellow FC Alliance coaches Alex Armas and Landon Monday. Played for Bearden High School and received All-District, All-Region, All-PrepXtra honors. 1 State Finals, 2 State Semis. Won the South Atlantic Region Conference in the USL Super-20 league and made a USL Super 20 National Tournament Appearance finishing second in the group to Chicago Fire. Played  for the University of Tennessee Men’s Club Soccer Team and achieved Regional Finalist in 2010. Playing in two Hispanic Leagues currently.

Accomplishments: Champion of U8 Jamboree, Semi-finalist U10 Jamboree, 3rd place in World Championship Futbol 3v3 Tournament U9 division.


Jeremy Ray

Coaching Licenses: USSF National "C", NSCAA National Diploma, USSF National Youth,  USSF National "D", NSCAA Youth Levels I, II, III, NSCAA Regional Diploma, NSCAA Goalkeeping Level I, Enrolled in NSCAA Advanced National Diploma, future USSF "B"

Coaching Experience: 12 years

East Tennessee Soccer Federation: ’89 Lady Falcons, ’91 Falcons, ’94 Falcons

Holtson Valley Futbol Club/Tri-City Force: ’90 Green, ’95 Green

Sullivan County Soccer Association: Staff Coach

Tennessee State ODP Staff Coach: ’90, ’91 Boys

Madison United Soccer Association: ’96 Flyers, ’99 Flyers, ’00 Flyers, ’02 Flyers, ’03 Flyers Gold

Madison Central High School Boys Head Coach

Playing History:

East Tennessee Soccer Federation: ’90-’97

4-Time State Champions (’93-’96)

Science Hill High School: ’94-’97

State Runner-up ’96, Final Four ’95

ODP Region III Team ’94-’95

Milwaukee Rampage: ’00-’02


State Cup Semi-Finalists (3 times) Div 2 TN (U11-U12 age groups)

Eurosport Cup Semi-Finalists KY (U12 age group)

Elite Division Champions or Finalists in Raleigh Shootout, Atlanta Cup, Nike Challenge Cup, Kings Academy Elite Thaw, Ohio Elite Spring Classic, CUP Elite Invitational


John Robert Giles


Asian Football Confederation   

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Born: May 25th 1971 in Manila, Philippines

Education: 2 years at Pellissippi State Community College

Coaching License: USSF State “E” License, USSF National “D” License, NSCAA Goalkeeper 1, and a National Youth License

Playing History: Played Competitive D1 Soccer up till 19.  Played Semi-Pro indoor soccer for the Chattanooga Generals

Accomplishments:  Won the Atlanta Cup in the U10 Boys second Division. Won numerous other tournaments



Junior Santos

Confederación Sudamericana de Fútbol


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Image result for Escolinha do Clube Portugues soccer logo    Image result for Esporte Clube Vitoria soccer logo    Image result for Galicia Esporte Clube soccer logo   Image result for Vitoria da Conquista  soccer logoImage result for CaboFriense soccer logo

Born: Rio De Janeiro, Brazil 

Education: Pursuing Associates Degree Mechanical Engineering

Coaching License: USSF National “D” License

Coaching History: Blount United Soccer Club and FC Alliance for 9 years.

Playing History: Played for Escolinha do Clube Portugues da Bahiafor 4 years; played for Esporte Clube Vitoria for 6 years; Galicia Esporte Clube for 2 Years; played Professional for Vitoria da Conquista for 2 Years; Portuguesa Carioca 1 year; CaboFriense 1 year.


Kayleigh Olson

Born : Fort Meyers, Florida

                Grew up in Knoxville TN

Education:  Studying Animal Science at The University of Tennessee-Knoxville

Coaching License;  USSF State “E” License

Coaching Experience:  4th season with FC Alliance Academy teams.

Playing Experience:  Played for Bearden High School and advance to the State tournament twice.  I Played competitively for FC Alliance up until age 16.  Won Atlanta Cup, CASL Cup, Vulcan  Cup(twice), GSA Tournaments (several Times), and Nike Norcross Cup  (multiple times).  Also won the Tennessee State Tournament once and played in the 3v3 World Champion in Disney 3 times.

Kevin Keck

Born: Knoxville, TN

Education: Hiwassee College

Coaching License: USSF State “D” License, NSCAA National GK Diploma

Coaching experience: Maryville College Assistant Coach (Men’s and Women’s), Head Coach (Men’s Reserve Team), Goalkeeper Coach


Kim McKinney

Kim grew up outside of Baltimore, Maryland, where she was a starter and captain for Greater Harford Soccer Club Lightning.  She was a starter for C. Milton Wright High School’s varsity team and was a 4A State Finalist in 2007.  Kim was a recipient of the Dean Mansfield Scholarship at Virginia Wesleyan College in Norfolk, Virginia.  Throughout her four years at Virginia Wesleyan, the Marlins made four NCAA tournament appearances and four Old Dominion Athletic Conference championship appearances.  Kim was named captain of the team as a senior, leading the Marlins to an 18-4 record, a conference championship appearance, and a bid into the NCAA tournament.


In high school, Kim coached for Greater Harford’s Special Needs Athletic Program for young players with physical and mental disabilities.  Kim also coached for Soccer Shots daycare program throughout college and assisted with Beach FC’s practices and tournaments.  She coached for Virginia Wesleyan College’s summer camps throughout her college career as well.  Through FC Alliance, Kim has coached at both the academy and competitive level.  Kim served as an assistant coach to John Giles’ U8 and U9 competitive boys teams, a skills coach for the Campbell County site, and a head academy coach.


Kim is currently working as a mental health case manager at the Helen Ross McNabb Center in Maryville, Tennessee.  She is working part-time towards earning a Master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling.  She enjoys Crossfit, playing soccer, and is very involved in Cokesbury United Methodist’s youth group and outreach ministries.


Mallory Gruenenfelder

Born:  Sweetwater, TN

Education:  Graduated from the University of Tennessee with B.S. in Audiology and Speech Pathology

Coaching Licenses;  USSF National “E” License

Coaching History:  2 years experience in the academy  program  with FC Alliance

Playing History

  • 10 years club soccer experience:  Division 1 State Champion
  • Sweetwater High School ; All County all 4 years, Monroe County 2009 Player  of the year, District Champion, team captain

Under 20 Semi  -Proffessional  Academy: Super 20

Collegiate Varsity Soccer at University of the Cumberlands



Paget Morris

Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football   Antigua and Barbuda     

Born: St. Johns, Antigua  

Education: BA in Religion from Southern Nazarene University

Coaching License: USSF State D

Coaching Experience: Has Coached since 2008. Won various events within TN with variety of teams.

Playing Experience: 10 years for the Antigua national team; youngest ever member of the Antigua National Team at 15; lettered all three years at Southern Nazarene University - this team won the Christian college championship all three years that I played on the team.


Renee Rosa


Born: Nashville , TN

Education : Graduated from Father Ryan High School

Pellissippi State Community College, Major Business Management

Coaching History: 3 seasons experience in the academy program wit FC Alliance, 2 years with Bentwood Youth Soccer Club


Playing History

  • 4 years with Essence

  • 5 years with Galaxy

  • 4 years with Nashville Metros

  • 4 years with Father Ryan High school

  • 2 years in Knoxville Adult League

Accomplishments : Division II Tennessee State Champions, D1 State Champions, 5th in the world in 3v3 soccer, 4th in the Region.



Robell Scott Confédération Africaine de Football   Ethiopia

I played for Fc Alliance in seventh grade and also got to play my senior year.  I played all four years in Seymour high school  after which I went to college to ETSU and played the year of 2012 now I have started coaching for the FC Alliance

Steve Feather

Education: Bucknell University

Coaching experience: Coached at both club and high school level for over 10 years. Currently the head Boys Coach at Maryville High School.

Coaching License: NSCAA Advanced National and NSCAA National Diploma

Playing Experience: Played both club and high school soccer. Honored as player of the year in county, All-State and the first ever NSCAA All-South (Regional All-American) our of Maryville High School. Played Division 1 soccer at Bucknell University.

Taylor Grim

I was born in Huntsville, Alabama.  I graduated from Oak Ridge High School where I was a three year captain, 2 time allstate, 4 time All Region, and 4 time All District.  I played club soccer Discorveries Soccer  in Rock Hill SC.  We won 3 state championship, CASL Raleigh shootout, Atlanta Cup, and Disney soccer Show case.  Also as U18’s , we won the USYS Region 3 championship, which qualified us for the USYS National Championship where we were the eventual champions, becoming the first national champion in South Carolina History.  I graduated from Wofford College, where I started 55 of 56 games from my sophomore to senior year.  I was named to the All –Tournament team my senior  year.  During college summers, was counselor at the Ralph Lundy Soccer Academy where I participated in drills and games against campers in order to develop their skills in preparation for playing at the collegiate level.

Tim McMahan

Birthplace: Waynesville, NC

Education: BS Organizational Management, Tusculum College

Coaching License:  TN State D License

Coaching history: Coached boys and girls teams, ranging in ages from 4 years old thru high school for the past 10 years.  Currently coaching U12 and U15 boys at the FC Alliance North Academy, and both the boys and girls teams at Holston Middle School. 

Coaching accomplishments (state tournaments, major tourney wins, etc.):99 North Girls Gold State Finalist TN Division III

Playing history: KMSL locally and various other indoor leagues.


Tom Leonard

Birthplace: Greeneville, TN

Education: BS, East Tennessee State University

Coaching License: E, D and NSCAA National Diploma

Coaching history: Coaching for 12 years D1, D2, D3 boys and girls U10 - U18

Coaching accomplishments: Finalist D2 U14 Girls, 4th place D1 U17 Girls, Champions U16 Girls Nike Norcross Cup, Finalist  U18 Boys 2012 Ocoee Cup

Playing history: Played on the first Greeneville High School team


Zach McWhorter

Born: Knoxville, TN

Education: Student at the University of Tennessee, Studying World Business and Language

Coaching History: Has been coaching for 1 year in the Academy and Academy Select programs with FC Alliance. Coached high level youth indoor in Atlanta, and 3v3 outdoor.

Playing History: Played for North Atlanta Soccer Association and other clubs in Atlanta. Played for Woodstock High School. All-County first team honors, All-County player of the year, holds goal scoring and assist record for single season.


Accomplishments: Champion of 3v3 U13 North Metro tournament and U13 Champion of Wolf’s indoor soccer league.