PHOENIX, Arizona (June 16, 2022) — Rafael Sifuentes and Alberto Millan have joined Phoenix Rising Academy as head coaches for its teams that will compete in MLS Next through the end of the 2022-23 season, the club announced today.
“We are excited to bring in these experienced coaches and expand the overall size of our MLS Next academy staff for the upcoming season,” said Phoenix Rising Academy Director Andy Chapman. “Over the past few months, we have signed eight youth players to USL Academy contracts and nearly all of them have featured for the first team. It is important for our club to continue to create an environment for our youth players to reach their potential. I am confident the leadership and knowledge of this group of coaches will continue to elevate the environment throughout the entire youth club.”
Sifuentes will guide the U14 and U17 Rising academy teams in MLS Next. A USSF “B” licensed coach, he began his coaching career with FC Dallas-El Paso as the club’s head coach and technical director in 2002. Sifuentes spent the past nine years with the Real Salt Lake Academy.
Millan is a USSF “B” and UEFA “A” licensed coach that will lead the U15 and U16 Rising academy teams. He began his coaching career in 2013 at Gateway Community College in Phoenix. Millan simultaneously coached several Phoenix-based youth clubs before joining the Real Salt Lake Academy in 2018.
Chapman joined the first team as an assistant coach this season to bridge the gap between the academy and the professional team. A USSF “A” licensed coach, Chapman will serve as the head coach for the U13 and U19 teams.
David Shaw has joined the academy as an assistant coach and Stefan Tomasevic and Christian Hernandez will serve as Pre-Academy Coaches. Shaw holds his UEFA “A” coaching license and was a member of Scotland’s youth national teams from 2002-05. Tomasevic began his playing career with Brentford FC in England in 2008. He has led the Phoenix Rising North Valley youth teams since 2019. Hernandez joined Phoenix Rising Youth Soccer Club in 2018.
Nate Kitchell, who played collegiately at Valparaiso and the University of Wisconsin, will continue to serve as the academy’s Director of Goalkeeping.
Will Malott will serve as the Player Pathway Director & ECNL Head Coach. Malott is a USSF “A” licensed coach that began coaching with East High School in Kansas City, Missouri in 2009. Nick Lehning, who is also on the first team staff, will lead the academy’s Sports Performance department. For any youth academy inquiries, please reach out to Andy Chapman at firstname.lastname@example.org.