Tacoma Defiance announced on Friday morning that Wade Webber has been named the team’s new head coach, taking over for Chris Little who has been hired as an assistant coach by the Colorado Rapids. Webber becomes the fourth head coach of the Sounders’ USL affiliate since its founding in 2015 and its third since they moved to Tacoma in 2018.
Little, who had been Tacoma’s head coach since January 2019, will fill a role that is a hybrid of developmental integration and standard assistant coaching duties regarding tactics, training, and matchday prep. Little’s experience in the Sounders development system with Defiance and as the Sounders FC U-17s coach and Defiance should make him an excellent fit in his new role. Along with \Little, Colorado dipped into the USL ranks to hire Wolde Harris, who had coached Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC since 2015, as an assistant coach as well.
Like his predecessors, Webber has an extensive history with the organization. Webber has served as an assistant coach with Defiance/S2 since 2018, working under both John Hutchinson and Chris Little. Prior to joining Tacoma, Webber coached for two seasons with the Sounders FC Academy from 2016 to 2017, and he boasts more than two decades of experience working in youth soccer in Western Washington, including working with the Washington State EDP/ODP program, serving as the Director of Coaching for Washington Premier FC for seven years, and coaching in several programs around the region. Webber boasts a USSF A License, as well as a Master’s in Teaching from Seattle University, and his mix of experience and familiarity within the organization should help him to step up into this new role seamlessly.
Webber’s local ties run as deep as anyone’s, having grown up in Federal Way and playing for the Seattle Storm and A-League Sounders prior to spending three seasons in MLS with FC Dallas and the Miami Fusion. After his playing career, he taught IB history at Thomas Jefferson High School.
Along with Webber’s promotion, Tacoma also announced that Sounders U-17 head coach Mike Morris and Sounders Academy and USL goalkeeper coach Josh Ford have been made full-time assistants on the Defiance staff. Morris, a Washington native, has been involved with the Sounders organization since 2009, initially overseeing the Sounders’s youth camps before joining the Academy as a coach and scout in 2014. Morris has also worked with the Sounders Discovery Program, and has a close relationship and extensive knowledge of the players making their way up through the development pipeline. Ford, who played for the Sounders from 2011-14, has been a goalkeeper coach for the Academy and USL within the Sounders organization since 2016.
Development and promotion from within is important for Seattle, not only with players but coaches and staff as well. As Director of Player Development Henry Brauner explained, “we feel that our players’ ambitions and expectations must also be reflected in our developmental coaches and staff.” These changes come as the Sounders prepare to begin the 2021 preseason on Monday, March 1.