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Sounders lose academy director to Charlotte expansion team

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The Sounders Director of Player Personnel Marc Nicholls will reportedly be Charlotte’s first hire.

Sounders FC

Update: Charlotte MLS officially announced the appointment of Marc Nicholls as Technical Director. His success with the Seattle Sounders development system and his experience and history in the Carolinas were cited as reasons for bringing him in. The Sounders have yet to issue a comment on his departure.


Today the Athletic reported that Sounders academy director Marc Nicholls will be leaving Seattle to join the newest MLS expansion team as their first hire. The move would actually mean a return to North Carolina, where Nicholls coached the Carolina Dynamo of the USL PDL for three years prior to moving to Seattle. He had worked for various academies there since 2005 and has been with the Sounders Academy since 2014.

The move has yet to be made official — or at least has yet to be officially announced — by either team or any other parties involved. How the Sounders will fill his role in their development system remains unseen. Nicholls has largely been the person responsible for enacting and implementing Garth Lagerwey’s plan to revamp and revitalize the Sounders Academy and the team’s overall developmental system. He has most recently served as the Director of Player Personnel. Chris Little could be moved from his position as Tacoma Defiance head coach and Academy Director of Coaching to maintain some sort of continuity and sense of familiarity, but that remains to be seen.

In his time with the Seattle Sounders Nicholls helped to develop players like Danny Leyva and Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez, among others, with the Sounders Academy’s U-17 team winning the Generation Adidas Champions Division — the first MLS academy team to do so — likely being the crown jewel of the legacy he leaves behind. Nicholls will likely have a larger role in Charlotte, where the Athletic’s Sam Stejskal reports he will be second only to the sporting director or GM when the team eventually hires one.

More information will likely come when the move is made official.