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KC NWSL announces staff for inaugural season

Huw Williams has selected his staff

Head coach Huw Williams has announced his staff
Thad Bell

The Kansas City NWSL team has announced the technical staff for their inaugural season. Head coach Huw Williams was announced as part of bringing a team back to Kansas City. The team has not announced the new name of the franchise yet but could be revealed within the next day.

Derek Shoare has been appointed associate general manager of the club. Shoare grew up in Wolverhampton, England and came to the United States in 1987. Shoare’s has a long background in youth soccer, camps and coaching. Shoare’s KC Dynamo youth teams won the U.S. Youth a National Championship tournament and went to two semi-finals. Williams and Shoare have worked together coaching and Shoare has a strong knowledge and network in college soccer.

Williams and Shoare have put together a strong team of coaches to assist him. A combination of coaches they are very familiar with and others that come highly recommended and with the right mentality.

Natalia Astrain, Assistant Coach -

The Pamplona, Spain, native is the first woman from her home country to earn the UEFA PRO license. Astrain was the First Team Head Coach for Club Levante Las Planas and Club de Futbol Damm (CF Damm) before joining Atlético de Madrid as an assistant coach. Astrain came to the United States in 2017 and has coached the Development Academies at Rise SC and the Houston Dash. In addition, she was part of the coaching staff for both the U.S. Soccer U17 and U15 teams. Astrain has also been part of the Jill Ellis mentoring program working with Laura Harvey.

When asked about Astrain, Williams replied, “My goal is to surround myself with good people and with experts in what they do and she is. The style she coaches, the style of play fits perfectly with style of play we want to play.”

With her experience in Spain with FC Barcelona, Atheltico Madrid and the Spanish Federation, it can be expected she will add to both the technical and attacking training for the team as well as using her knowledge of players in and out of the US youth systems.

Goran Karadjov, Assistant Coach –

Karadzov began his professional playing career in Macedonia with current U.S. Women’s National Team and former FC Kansas City coach Vlatko Andonovski. Karadjov was Andonovski’s assistant with both FC Kansas City and the Kansas City Comets of the Major Arena Soccer League. Karadjov led the Comets after Andonovski stepped away. Karadjov holds a USSF B license and serves as the Director of Coaching and Elite Clubs National League for KC Athletics Soccer Club.

Andonovski, Williams and Karadjov with FCKC being honored at Children’s Mercy Park
Thad Bell

With Karadjov, Williams adds not only an experienced NWSL assistant coach but also one he is very familiar with. Karadjov, Williams and Rodriguez all have made many trips together with their youth teams. Williams is the Executive Director of the Kansas City Athletics youth club and with Karadjov as one his regional directors, they have a great working relationship already.

Lucas Rodriguez, Video Analyst/Assistant Coach -

Rodriguez, a native of Argentina, moved to the United States as a teenager and played soccer at Shawnee Mission Northwest High School, Johnson County Community College and MidAmerica Nazarene University, earning a degree in Sports Management. A talented and technical player, Rodriguez played professionally outdoors with Minnesota United FC and Jacksonville Armada FC s well as a number of years with the Kansas City Comets. Rodriguez was coached by Vlatko Andonovski and Karadjov while with the Comets.

“Familiarity was a good part of it and because I am familiar with them I know how good they are,” Williams stated. “They (Karadjov and Rodriguez) are very good coaches.”

Rodriguez about to score for the Comets
Thad Bell

“One of the first times I spoke with Lucas in-depth about coaching,” Williams continued. “He was paying to have films made of his youth teams, paying for it himself, analyzing those games so he could give feedback back to his players. That was not an expectation of the club or anyone at all. He was doing that all on his own and showing that extra dedication. I thought that was impressive. When you watch him coach, he is passionate about it and he is good. He is a coach we are hoping to mentor.”

“With his playing ability also, he can step on the field in drills and there is instant credibility. He is a legit good player,” Williams added.

Alli Lipsher, Goalkeeper Coach -

Lipsher was a stellar goalkeeper at Duke University, helping the Blue Devils advance to the NCAA Sweet 16 (2004) and Elite 8 (2007) appearances. Lipsher played professionally in Australia for Newcastle FC and Sydney FC before returning to the United States to play with the Boston Breakers and Atlanta Beat of the Women’s Professional Soccer League. The Hawaiian native has coached at Trinity College, East Carolina University and the University of Arizona and the University of Minnesota.

Kansas City has also added the following technical staff to the club:

  • Sports Performance Coach Terrence Kennell
  • Athletic Trainer Bailey Torrez
  • Equipment Manager Karly Cebula
  • Team Administrator Jessica Buller
  • Medical Director Kirk McCullough, MD
  • Team Doctor Meg Gibson, MD, CAQSM

*** Full disclosure***

My daughter plays in the club that Williams is the Executive Director and has attended camps with Williams, Karadjov and Rodriguez. She has also guest played for Rodriguez as well as played against his teams.