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Coaches

HEAD COACH

Mike Jeffries

Jeffries was named the first Head Coach in Independence history on Dec. 5, 2014. Before making the move to the USL, Jeffries spent two seasons with the Des Moines Menace of the Premier Development League, where he had a combined regular-season record of 18-7-3. He was named the 2014 PDL Coach of the Year after guiding the Menace to the league’s regular-season championship. The Menace collected its first postseason win in five years and built an 11-match unbeaten streak before falling in the PDL quarterfinals to eventual champion the Michigan Bucks. Jeffries also led the Menace to a combined 3-2 record in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

Jeffries, 52, has more than 20 years of experience as a professional soccer coach and player, including 10 years spent on the MLS sidelines. A former member of the U.S. Men’s National Team and NCAA player of the year, Jeffries has ties to the game at the international and collegiate levels.

His first MLS gig was as an assistant to Bob Bradley during the Chicago Fire’s first three seasons. The inaugural Fire team won the 1998 MLS Cup and U.S. Open Cup titles, repeating as Open Cup champion in 2000. Jeffries then served as head coach for the Dallas Burn (now FC Dallas) from 2001-03, reaching the MLS Playoffs in each of his first two seasons. He was nominated for MLS Coach of the Year in 2002. Jeffries spent the next four years coaching at the collegiate level, before returning to the Fire as an assistant coach from 2008-10, and as Director of Player Personnel from October 2010 through September 2011. He also served as a scout for the USMNT in the 2010 FIFA World Cup, assisting Bradley and his staff in South Africa.

The Bethesda, Md., native is a graduate of Duke University, where he earned the 1983 Hermann Trophy as a senior. Jeffries’ junior season ended in an epic national title match, an eight-overtime 2-1 loss to Indiana. Between 1984-85, he earned three caps as a member of the USMNT. From 1984-88, Jeffries played professionally in the top U.S. indoor and outdoor leagues. In the final season of the original North American Soccer League he scored two goals in 10 matches for the 1984 Minnesota Strikers. Jeffries, the first pick of the 1983 Major Indoor Soccer League Draft, played for the reincarnated Minnesota Strikers from 1984-87 and for the Dallas Sidekicks in 1988 before a torn ACL ended his playing career.

The first stop in Jeffries’ coaching career was with the New Orleans Riverboat Gamblers, a member of the former USL A-League. He served as an assistant coach from 1993-94 and as head coach from 1995-98.

ASSISTANT COACH

Troy Lesesne

Lesesne spent the 2014 season with the Vancouver Whitecaps, serving as an assistant coach and liaison with the Charleston Battery as part of their MLS/USL affiliation. The Battery finished the 2014 campaign fifth in the regular season standings, which clinched a playoff spot for the club. Prior to joining the Battery, Lesesne spent 10 years as an assistant coach at the College of Charleston (2005-14). During that time, he helped the program compile an 82-76-14 record, along with a Southern Conference regular season championship and second round NCAA Tournament appearance in 2010. He was named one of the top-20 assistant coaches in the nation by CollegeSoccerNews.com in 2011 and 2013, and also was selected to the inaugural NSCAA “Top 30 Under 30” coaches program in 2013. Lesesne holds both a USSF “A” coaching license and NSCAA Premier Diploma.

Following a successful collegiate career at the College of Charleston (2001-04), Lesesne was drafted by the Battery in 2005 and played professionally for two years before accepting his first coaching job. The West Columbia, S.C. native is married to Amanda Andrews Lesesne, who is a Charlotte native and grew up playing for the Charlotte Soccer Academy.

KEEPER COACH

Joel Tyson

Coach Tyson comes to the Independence after one season with the University of Central Florida Golden Knight’s men’s soccer team serving in the same position. Prior to his time at UCF, Tyson spent four seasons as an assistant coach at Wofford College, where he helped the Terriers to a Southern Conference Championship and back-to-back appearances in the championship game of the Southern Conference Tournament. The Irmo, South Carolina, native also worked at Hofstra University, where he worked primarily with the goalkeepers and assisted in all aspects of the program's day-to-day operations


Tyson is the former starting goalkeeper at Coker College, where he graduated in 2008 with dual degrees in history and political science. He tallied a 1.85 goals against average as a senior for the Cobras, when he helped the program to the highest win total in school history. He was also named a team captain as both a junior and senior.

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