Dixon named an Assistant Coach; Ellis will serve as Goalkeeper Coach
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (February 8, 2024) – The Charlotte Independence announced today the addition of Dave Dixon and Blake Ellis to the club’s technical staff. The duo joins returning Head Coach, Mike Jeffries, Assistant Coach, Dave Carton and Video Analysis, Jay Lockhart for the 2024 season.
Dave Dixon, Assistant Coach
Dixon previously served as an Assistant Coach with the Charlotte Independence for the 2019 and 2020 USL Championship seasons. He rejoins the staff from FC Carolinas where he was the Director of Soccer.
“I am thrilled to welcome Dave Dixon back on staff,” Jeffries shared. “He provides tremendous soccer insights and has a very comfortable manner when dealing with players. In addition, his ability to scout players and knowledge of both the youth and college landscape will be valuable as we continue to build our roster and look to develop young players.”
Previously, Dixon coached in the USL Championship with Indy Eleven and the Charlotte Eagles, reaching the league championship in 2013. At the USL League Two level, Dixon coached with the Charlotte Eagles and Mississippi Brilla FC. In 2015, Dixon was named USL League Two Coach of the Year. Two years later, the Charlotte Eagles were crowned USL League Two Champions under his leadership.
“I’m really excited to be back with the Independence and to work with Mike Jeffries again,” Dixon expressed. “Mike, with the support of ownership, has done a fantastic job creating a club and culture that can compete for championships. I will give everything I have to help the club lift a championship trophy!”
At the collegiate level, Dixon has coached numerous programs spanning from the NAIA level to Division I universities. As a student-athlete, Dixon was an All-American goalkeeper at Houghton College in New York. He went on to play professionally for the Charlotte Eagles. Dixon holds a US Soccer A Licence and a United Soccer Coaches Association Premier license.
Blake Ellis, Goalkeeper Coach
Ellis has worked with the Charlotte Independence Youth Soccer Club for over three years, including serving as the Goalkeeper Coach for the Independence USL League Two team.
“We are excited to bring Blake Ellis on board as our goalkeeping coach,” Jeffries commented.” In the times he has worked with our goalkeepers, he has done a great job of setting up and running sessions, bringing a good mentality and modern training ideas. In addition, we are happy to continue to cement the relationship with our academy, enabling staff coaches to grow and develop with the first team.”
Ellis originally joined the Charlotte Independence in 2020 as the South Goalkeeper Director. After a year in this role, he was promoted to Boys Goalkeeper Director in which he oversees and manages all levels of goalkeeping, from Recreation to ECNL. During his stint as Boys Goalkeeper Director, Ellis was part of a U19 ECNL National Championship (2021) and USL Academy Championship (2023).
“First, I want to thank Thomas Finlay and Mike Jeffries for this opportunity,” Ellis shared. “I joined the Charlotte Independence Soccer Club three and a half years ago because of the club’s vision and player pathway. I knew I wanted to be a part of an industry that provided a path to pro for youth soccer players. We’ve been very successful in that regard, signing multiple players to academy contracts over the past seasons. Not only has this pathway been successful for players, it has proven to provide opportunities for coaches. I’m excited for this opportunity and am looking forward to the upcoming season. Up the Jacks!”
Prior to this, Ellis was the Men’s and Women’s Goalkeeper Coach at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina, from 2018-2020. He helped the men’s soccer program reach the Big South Quarterfinals and the women’s soccer program achieve back-to-back Big South Quarterfinals appearances. During his time at Winthrop, Ellis also contributed as a goalkeeper coach for Discoveries Soccer Club coaching U13-U19 goalkeepers.
The 2024 USL League One season begins on Saturday, March 16 as the Charlotte Independence face One Knoxville SC in the home opener. Season tickets for the Charlotte Independence 10th Anniversary season are on sale now with packages as low as $5 per game for Supporter Section seats. To see all exclusive Season Ticket Member benefits and purchase your tickets today, visit charlotteindependence.com/seasontickets.
ABOUT CHARLOTTE INDEPENDENCE:
The Charlotte Independence is a Division III professional men’s soccer team celebrating a decade of competitive soccer in Charlotte, North Carolina, in 2024. The club, founded in 2014, currently competes in USL League One and reached its first league final in club history at the end of the 2023 season. The Independence plays all home games at the historic American Legion Memorial Stadium. As part of the Queen City Soccer Club, our mission is to make Charlotte a better place to live through sports. For information on club news, season tickets and more, visit charlotteindependence.com.