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North Carolina FC Appoints Dave Sarachan as Head Coach

By USLChampionship.com Staff, 12/17/18, 3:05PM EST

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Former U.S. Men’s National Team Head Coach takes reins for 2019 USL Championship season


North Carolina FC announced on Monday the appointment of former United States Men's National Team Manager Dave Sarachan as the club's fourth Head Coach.

CARY, N.C. – North Carolina FC officially entered a new era on Monday as the club announced the appointment of Dave Sarachan, formerly the United States Men’s National Team Manager, as the fourth Head Coach in the club’s history.

Sarachan arrives at North Carolina having achieved extensive success in the professional game, notably winning the MLS Supporters’ Shield and two Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup trophies as the Head Coach of the Chicago Fire while also earning MLS Coach of the Year honors in his illustrious career.

Sarachan also previously served as the Associate Head Coach with the LA Galaxy alongside Head Coach Bruce Arena. During his stint in LA, the team won three MLS Cups (2011, 2012, 2014) and two MLS Supporters’ Shields (2010, 2011).

“We are thrilled to welcome Dave Sarachan as the new North Carolina FC Head Coach,” said North Carolina Football Club President and GM Curt Johnson. “Dave has been a highly respected leader for both club and country at every stop during his career and knows what it takes to grow a club, develop world class young talent, and win. This is a huge moment for everyone that loves North Carolina Football Club and for soccer in the state of North Carolina.”

“I am very excited to be joining NCFC as its head coach,” said Sarachan. “To have an opportunity to be aligned with quality people, excellent facilities, a soccer rich community and a shared philosophy in terms of vision and ambition is every head coach’s wish. I look forward to working with Steve and Curt and all of the NCFC family in building a team that we all will be proud of and that will contend for trophies.”


Between November 2017 and December 2018, Sarachan led the United States Men's National Team, handing 23 players their first appearance for their country.

Sarachan will lead the next step of the club’s evolution, guiding the organization’s professional team with an eye on the youth-to-pro pipeline and player development. NCFC Youth Academy Director John Bradford has been named as one of Sarachan’s assistant coaches while remaining in charge of this key youth development role.

In addition, Nic Platter has been promoted to Assistant General Manager and will continue in his role as goalkeeper coach. Additional technical side announcements will be made at a later date.

A native of Rochester, N.Y., Sarachan most recently served as the interim manager for the United States from November 2017 to December 2018, guiding the side to several marquee results. Among the notable contests during Sarachan’s tenure were a 1-1 draw against reigning European champions Portugal, a 1-1 draw away at eventual World Cup champions France and a 1-0 victory against regional rival Mexico on home soil in September of 2018.

Sarachan played a critical role in shaping the next generation of US Soccer talent, effectively setting up the future success of the federation. In total, Sarachan awarded 23 first caps to up-and-coming talents, laying the groundwork for a successful World Cup qualifying campaign for 2022 and beyond.

Sarachan and Bradford will look to guide North Carolina FC to new heights. Together they will continue to evolve the technical side of the club by strengthening the relationship between NCFC Youth and the professional team.

Bradford, already a key driver in North Carolina FC’s development of young, elite players, will take an enhanced role in developing the club’s youth-to-professional pipeline. As a full-time assistant coach with North Carolina FC, he will continue to oversee the direction of the NCFC Youth Academy and the development of the club’s top youth players, while working closely with the club’s first team.

“Dave, John and Nic have proven records when it comes to player development,” Johnson continued. “Winning while at the same time developing the highest-level young talent our country has to offer is the goal and our day to day opportunity.  We have the largest youth to pro club in the country and we believe we can be the best at developing homegrown talent.”  

“When I was here in March with our National Team, I had the opportunity to visit with the NCFC Youth Academy and club,” Sarachan added. “I was very impressed with their program and commitment to developing players at the youth level. As I take on my role as head coach of the first team, I am very committed to the connection of the entire organization to raise the bar on our youth-to-pro philosophy.”

Bradford has coached NCFC Youth Academy teams to record heights building one of the top academy programs that has had 26 different Youth National Team players and 91 committed college players from the academy program over the last five seasons. 

The North Carolina native has a proven track record on the player development front and has helped current North Carolina FC players Dre Fortune and DJ Taylor move to the professional ranks after successful seasons in the club’s Academy system. He has also regularly guided a growing list of homegrown Academy products to professional, college and youth national team experiences.

“John’s player development record speaks for itself,” said NCFC Youth CEO Gary Buete. “Joining Dave, and Nic on the coaching staff is a tremendous opportunity for him and strengthens our club’s collective goal of developing elite players at every level.”

Platter has now moved up the organizational ladder to the executive level. He started as a goalkeeper with the club in 2010, before becoming a player-coach in 2012, and eventually becoming a full-time member of the technical staff in 2015. Platter’s work on and off the field has been instrumental in building the team over the past few seasons.

Throughout his tenure with the club, Platter has trained and developed numerous goalkeepers including top-level professionals, Akira Fitzgerald, Scott Goodwin, Brian Sylvestre and Alex Tambakis. He’s also worked closely with NCFC Youth, NCFC Youth Academy and NCFC U-23 teams.

The moves continue to instill the club’s values of promoting from within while strengthening its pathway to professional soccer.

The coaching staff has already been hard at work pulling the pieces together for a successful 2019 season, prior to today’s announcement. The current North Carolina FC team includes goalkeeper Alex Tambakis, defenders Aaron Guillen, Steven Miller and DJ Taylor, midfielders Dre Fortune and Graham Smith and forwards Donovan Ewolo and Marios Lomis. More player announcements are expected to follow soon.

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