Chattanooga Red Wolves Academy Announces Key Leadership Roles Ahead of Upcoming Season

Coming off the recent announcement naming Derek Greene as its Executive Vice President, the Red Wolves Academy has named it's key leadership team heading into the new season. 

After a successful first year, including ECNL acceptance, being ranked 85th in the nation by SoccerWire, and having a graduating class of 22 seniors committing to play college soccer, the Chattanooga Red Wolves Academy looks to continue to grow and excel in 2020. The Academy has now bolstered its staff with various new key additions and promotions.


Luke Winter, Chattanooga soccer legend, has been promoted to VP of Youth Soccer, Jimmy Weekley has been named Director of Coaching for Boys ECNL, Laban Defriese Director of Coaching for Girls, David Barrueta Director of Dalton Red Wolves, Louis Thorpe Director of the Jr. Academy, and Sias Reyneke will serve as Assistant Boys Director of Coaching. Chad Mize, Youth Academy President, Jessica Thomas, Director of Academy Administration, Dean Wilson, Director of Field Operations, and Marina Kugler Director of the Pre-Academy will all be returning to their respective roles.

"As I have come in and had a chance to evaluate this group of directors and coaches, it's clear we have a premier staff," said Greene. "The level of coaches inside our youth structure will ultimately help us create the best training environment for players in Chattanooga and the surrounding markets. As we take this organization to the next level, we will continue to attract the best directors and staff and we are on the right path."

These coaches bring a combined 162 years of experience and have produced multiple collegiate and professional players. By bringing these coaches together, CRWA has created an ethos of excellence and experience. By creating a staff with seasoned coaches, it gives players an opportunity that is exclusive to the Chattanooga Red Wolves. 

Luke Winter, who was already playing a prominent role in the Academy, has been promoted to Vice President of Youth Soccer. “The Chattanooga soccer community took me under their wing and made me love this city,” says Winter. “I am extremely excited to have this position and give back to Chattanooga soccer. This fantastic staff and our talented teams are going to continue the success we had in our first year of the Chattanooga Red Wolves Academy. I am very grateful to Chad Mize, Derek Greene, and Bob Martino for this opportunity and I cannot wait for the challenge and success ahead.”

This Spring the Red Wolves Academy Boys were accepted into Elite Clubs National League (ECNL), one of the top youth leagues in the US. Getting accepted into the ENCL in less than a year of the Academy’s existence was a huge step for the Academy and will offer ECNL Players the opportunity to play against the top teams in the nation in front of the top professional and collegiate scouts. All this while traveling no further than two hours for league games. Jimmy Weekley was selected to become the Director of Coaching for Boys ECNL. “I have been involved in the Chattanooga soccer community for over 25 years, and for us to be in the ECNL is a game-changer for the players in our club,” says Weekley. “I am really excited about the opportunity and the next level exposure the ECNL is going to provide for our players. Being a club that offers exclusive high-level opportunities via the ECNL model in addition to the benefits of State League, which includes ODP exposure, exemplifies the feasible and accessible path to pro model for our local players.”  

David Barrueta will be stepping into the newly minted position of Director of the Dalton Red Wolves Academy. “I feel lucky to be involved in so many aspects of the Red Wolves organization,” says Barrueta. “As Dalton Academy Director, I’m very motivated to create college soccer opportunities for our players.” 

The girls program had a strong first year with 100% of our senior girls committing to play college soccer. Laban Defriese is the Academy Girls Director. “The Red Wolves organization is committed to the highest standards of integrity, character, and commitment to all its members,” says Defriese  The community outreach is extensive and I couldn’t be prouder of the commitment to diversity by the club and opportunity for everyone to be a part of the Red Wolves organization.”

Sias Reyneke will be the Assistant Boys Director of Coaching. “The Chattanooga Red Wolves Academy is a unique blend of a professional soccer academy with a tight-knit community organization,” says Reyneke. “As a part of this group, I’m not only privileged to be part of the development of great soccer players, but the development of great young men and women outside of soccer. The future is bright for the youth soccer players of Chattanooga.”

Louis Thorpe will be stepping into the role of Director of the Jr. Academy. “I’m excited to be a part of the organization that would change the city into a soccer city.” When asked what his favorite part was, Thorpe replied, “The joy and smile on the kids' faces!” 

Marina Kugler is starting her second year as Director of the Pre Academy. “What excites me about CRWA Pre Academy is that our community is able to have access to a full-scale soccer program that is free, professional, and fun for kids and parents,” says Kugler. “In addition to that, this program is the perfect starting point for players to learn the beautiful game of soccer.” Kugler will also manage the Futsal Program. When asked about this program, Kugler commented, “With the CRWA Winter Futsal Program, kids in the Chattanooga area have the ability to play this sport which is a great skill developer as it demands quick reflexes, fast-thinking, and pin-point passing. Futsal is the game that outdoor soccer players around the globe play to refine and maintain their control skills and touch.”

Jessica Thomas returns to the CRWA staff as Director of Academy Administration and will handle all duties associated with making sure the club is operating as efficiently as possible. “Having the opportunity to be a part of the Red Wolves Academy and being able to experience what it takes to build an organization from the ground up has been an extraordinary time,” Thomas said. “The Red Wolves is founded upon player development and working hand in hand with our community.  I genuinely believe that the Red Wolves Academy has become and will continue to be an integral part of youth soccer in the Chattanooga area. I am proud to work alongside such a strong group of dedicated coaches, talented players, and committed families.” Thomas will work to support both coaches and managers as they handle their day to day operations. 

Dean Wilson will return to the CRWA staff as Director of Field Operations and will handle field reservations and preparations. He will work closely with coaches and volunteers to ensure field operations run smoothly. Wilson, who is well-known in the Chattanooga soccer community as a coach and as a leader, had this to say, “Having been involved with Chattanooga soccer for over 25 years, it is great to finally be involved in a true ‘soccer person’ run club. Here’s to another 25 years!”