Charlotte, (N.C.) — Over the course of two seasons, there are countless personalities who contributed to the success of the Charlotte Independence. Two particular individuals help embody the “Selflessness – Family – Accountability” mantra the team brandishes. The Charlotte Independence thank those two individuals, Assistant/Keepers Coach Philip Poole and Strength and Conditioning Coach John Lytton, who are pursuing other opportunities this season.
“I enjoyed my two seasons with the team,” said Coach Poole. “We started with a head coach and in a short span of time built a playoff team. It really amazed me to see something created out of nothing.”
Similarly, Coach Lytton shared sentiments of thanks to the Independence organization and the people involved.
“I especially want to thank Coach Jeffries and Coach Lesesne for taking a chance on me and believing in the information that I was able to bring them,” said Coach Lytton.
"Not only have they been great with the team, but I have enjoyed learning coaching nuances from both," said Independence Head Coach Mike Jeffries. "I truly appreciate the sacrifices they made to contribute to our group and the willingness they showed in taking the chance and coming on board with us."
Reflecting on the highlights of the past two years, the pair noted the Swansea game as one of many lasting memories.
“The game itself was ok,” said Coach Poole. “The standard of play was pretty good. But the biggest realization for me was that professional soccer in Charlotte works when fans come together.”
“Good times all around,” added Coach Lytton as he further recalled one of the first instances working for the Independence.
“One of my first memories with the team, and indicative of what an adventure the position would be, was during the snowstorm of the 2015 preseason.”
Coach Lytton doubted soccer was playable that training session, but was willing to risk frostbite in the hour and a half of field prep that ensued.
“Little did I know that Coach Jeffries had intended for the Equipment Manager, Operations Coordinator, and myself to tip over a picnic bench to plow the entire third of the playing field. I’m pretty sure that was an initiation of some sorts.”
Both coaches are excited about their prospects moving forward. Coach Lytton says he is considering a new venture in adult fitness and massage therapy but will continue efforts in youth soccer.
“My company, Performance Unlimited, has some great opportunities to develop physical programming within several youth clubs around the country, including the Carolina Rapids,” said Coach Lytton. “I will be getting back into focusing on the youth game and have taken a new role with the U.S. Under-14 Boy’s National team, as their Head of Sports Science.”
Coach Poole also plans to work with U.S. Soccer and the youth teams at Charlotte Soccer Academy. He doesn’t rule out a return to the Independence in the future.
One thing could not be mistaken in the coaches’ conclusion about their time with the Independence; the significance of the people associated.
“I went into the position with an expectation and each individual blew me away with how much they impacted my life,” said Coach Lytton. “I can only hope that I have had a small portion of the same impact on them.”
“My favorite part of coaching is interacting with the people involved,” said Coach Poole. “I will say that the people involved with the Charlotte Independence are the type of people that will leave a lasting impact on me - I will miss the boys for sure.”
On behalf of Coach Jeffries, Coach Lesesne, players, front office staff, fans, and countless others who have had the privilege to work with you two in the past two years, we thank you, and take pride in the fact that you will always be a part of our family.