Select Coaching Staff
Aaron has been a student of the game since he began playing at six years old. He grew up in the Highline area playing with the infamous Highline Heat teams who boasted some of the top players and coaches to ever come out of WA state. Aaron has traveled the world furthering his soccer education.
In addition to many years of playing and coaching, Aaron has also instructed the annual Coaching Clinics to which over 1,200 coaches have attended over the years. He takes great pride in helping coaches understand how to use age appropriate tactical references to teach young players. Aaron served as VP of Coach and Player Development at MIFC for ten years and served in the same capacity in EYSA for two years.
- FC Barcelona's FCBEscola
- FC World Football Academy's at Feyenoord in Rotterdam (Netherlands) Expert License
- Benfica in Lisbon (Portugal) Expert License
- Valencia CF (Spain) Pro License
- 3four3 in Los Angeles at LA Galaxy
- 3four3 in Los Angeles at Chivas USA
- USSF and United Coaches credentials
Coaching Philosophy: Aaron has an extensive track record for developing players by developing teams who understand to play the game in possession, out of possession and in between. His teams always play an attractive brand of possession soccer. He has helped develop hundreds of players that have gone on to play Sounders Academy, Reign Academy, represent WA state in ODP/EPD, ECNL and other top RCL players. His 2006 Mercer Island girls (from just three elementary schools) played RCL 1 and made the quarterfinals four consecutive years of state cup, playing one year up.
Renato was born in Lima, Peru and raised in Seattle. Following his brothers' footsteps, he began playing soccer at a very young age, instantly falling in love with the game. After graduating high school, playing various clubs, Renato decided to continue playing for Bellevue College. With the support of his family, he continued to pursue his passion of playing, eventually turning it into a career.
Experience: 10+ years playing, 6+ years coaching.
- MIFC Select player - 3 years
- PAC NW Premier - 3 years
- EFC Premier - 1 year
- Bellevue College 1st year - Conference All-Star Team
- 6+ years coaching with IAS in various MIFC and EYSA programs including;
- Spring Academy
- Winter Sharpness
- Micro Soccer
- MOD Clinics
Coaching Philosophy: Renato's intent as a coach is to educate and prepare players for their future through various lessons soccer brings. He is fully committed to helping kids reach their goals and hopes to pass down his passion for the game.
Willy played professional soccer in Peru's premier division, as well as for the USL Sounders after moving to the Pacific Northwest. With his deep and rich background in the sport, he has brought passion, knowledge and technical enrichment to the Mercer Island/Eastside soccer community through IAS for the last several years. Willy has become a cherished and well-known coach with multiple premier and select teams in the area. He also has a son who plays premier soccer.
Experience: 30+ years playing, 7+ years coaching.
- USSF C License, International Academy of Soccer (IAS).
Coaching Philosophy: Willy never thought he was going to be a soccer coach, but is grateful that he found his way. He really loves what he does and strives to pass on this love and passion to each and every one of the players he works with. Willy believes that every player is unique and has different skills to offer and does his best to bring the potential out of each of them. He enjoys getting to know all of his players and loves seeing them coming together as a cohesive team during the season. Willy doesn't ask for players to be great at everything, just to try their best during each practice and game. Willy believes that a focus on player development is key at the youth level.
Francois's career as a player was made in France, from the top youth soccer level to semi-pro level, National 4. He spent 25 years playing semi-pro in France and has been coaching youth soccer for years.
- Coaching Diploma
- USSF A License
- Youth Soccer National
Coaching Philosophy: Francois draws upon the skills he gained as a player to teach youth about a game that is constantly evolving. He uses his experience to provide the tools, skills and appropriate levels of coaching to best develop each player.
Experience: Annacy was born and raised in the Bay Area in California. She played competitively through high school and continued to play at UC Davis while earning a Bachelors in Human Development. Annacy spent seven years teaching at the high school level and coaching the girls soccer team. She moved to Washington in 2019 with her husband and daughter and joined MIFC's Select coaching staff in 2020.
Coaching Philosophy: Coach the whole player - from being challenged mentally on tactical awareness to being pushed physically before reaching that next level. Annacy believes in developing the emotional/mental aspect of a player's game by helping them learn how to be a teammate and support a group with a common goal.
Elliot's goal is to build community through soccer. He has lived in Mexico and Brazil and speaks Spanish and Portuguese. In addition, Elliot has been fortunate to have travelled to over 30 countries and has seen how football connects people from all ethnic and cultural backgrounds. He seeks to instill passion for the game through encouraging individual creativity within a framework of sound tactical fundamentals.
- 6 years Professional Indoor Soccer for the MASL/MISL (2 with Tacoma Stars, 4 with Rochester Lancers)
- 4 years for Seattle University (MVP senior year)
- PDL Championship with Kitsap Pumas in 2011
- Mead High School in Spokane (MVP Senior Year)
- Premier and ODP through high school
- Youth select soccer for ages U8-U17 for several years before joining MIFC full time in 2016
- Head Coach - Mercer Island High School Junior Varsity 2018
- Pro Camps Director for Western New York Flash 2015
- USSF "E" license (I am signed up and will have my "D" license completed by the end of June)
- WFA Football Fitness/Braining Diploma
- WFA Football Tactics/Action Analysis Diploma
- NSCAA Level 1 Futsal Diploma
Coaching Philosophy: Elliot's priorities through sport are respect, hard work and fun. Players should respect parents, referees, teammates, opponents and coaches. Players should learn through sport how rewarding hard work can be. And ultimately, it should be fun. Some of Elliot's best memories and closest relationships have come through soccer and he hopes to create an environment that affords the same opportunity for his players.
Amateur Playing Career:
- US youth National team U-14 through U-21
- US development Academy Starting XI
- UCLA (3 years)
- University of Louisville (1 year)
- Portland Timbers - 2012
- AJ Auxerre (France League 1)
- Goulburn Valley Suns (Australia Premier League)
- PRO SKILLZ SOCCER - Individual Skills Coach
- Seattle Reign - Players Assistant (1 year)
- Coach - Eastside FC (4 years)
Coaching Philosophy: Teamwork is essential for success - you win and lose as a team. Zack believes in focusing on individual skills and abilities in order to make plays, and training in a way that pushes each player to be better than they were the day before. He also knows it's important to have fun!
Growing up, soccer was simply the fall sport Tom played after baseball ended and before basketball began. Until his sophomore year in high school, Tom played all three sports with the friends he had had since 3rd grade. After college, Tom played soccer year-round on both a coed and a men's team. I still have many friends from those days. Coaching started when the local club called and told Tom that his son could play but only if he was willing to coach the team. From there it was years of coaching both his son's as well as his daughter's teams. There were a couple years during the fall when Tom was on the field seven days a week. It was tremendous fun.
- USSF D License
- USSF C License
- USSF B License
Coaching Philosophy: It took Tom 20+ years to understand that most of a coach's role is to create positive relationships with the players and parents. He believes that winning is a result, not a goal. No player, of any age, shows up to practice hoping to stand in line, run laps, or listen to lectures; they want to play. Tom realizes that the X's and O's are important, and when you combine good soccer fundamentals with a positive development mentality, players and teams will amaze you. Tom believes that his impact as a coach is not neutral, so he has to make it a positive one. He gets to know his players and then releases them to the game, to allow them to own their experience.
Experience: 20+ years playing, 7+ years coaching
- Mercer Island FC
- Mercer Island High School
- Eastside FC Premier
- Colorado College
- MIHS Boys Varsity Head Coach
- PacNW Goalkeeping Director/Head Goalkeeping Coach
- Former Assistant/JV coach at various high schools
Awards/Certifications: Actively working through the USSF coaching license system.
Coaching Philosophy: Coaching is education and Forrest strives to inspire players to become lifelong learners. He wants to help kids learn to love the sport, love to compete, and love the process of getting better. Forrest wants his players to see that the skills they gain from him are beneficial to their life on and off the pitch. Through soccer he wants them to understand the value of individuality and creativity, as well as teamwork and community. Forrest believes it is equally important to shape good people as well as good players.
Cristian is a local product with Chilean roots. He made his mark playing locally for Juanita High School, Alliance FC and Eastside FC. He returned to Chile to further his football education, playing professionally in Chile's 1st division league. In 2005 Cristian returned to Seattle and continued his career in the PDL, NPSL, and USL2.
Cristian has been coaching select teams for MIFC and other local clubs in several different age groups for over ten years. He has also been a major influence with younger players on Mercer Island through his coaching in the recreational "MOD" clinics, Spring Academy and other coaching clinics.
- US national "C" License
- Director - IAS Academy
- Coaching staff - IAS Academy
Coaching Philosophy: Coaching has always been a dream of Cristian's and he began his coaching career at the age of 15. "I love to challenge myself with new ways to pass on my love of the game and the opportunity to develop players and help them see the opportunities football can bring to their lives."
Kevin Van Gaver
Kevin grew up in South Seattle. He and his wife have three adult children. Kevin loves being on the pitch with the players. When he's not coaching soccer, you'll find him in the garden, the kitchen, or on the golf course.
Experience: 25+ years coaching - Girls and Boys, 3v3 Micro through 11v11.
- Youth soccer (age 5-18 years)
- High School - O'Dea/Cleveland, Class of '79
- Bellevue Community College
- Seattle University
- FC Seattle
- USSF C coaching license
- Lifetime Achievement Award- Lake Hills Soccer Club