SUMNER, WA—Longtime coach Jason Prenovost takes over as head coach of the Seattle Sounders U-23 team ahead of the 2019 USL League Two season, the club announced today. With Darren Sawatzky taking over as head coach of FC Tucson in USL League One, Prenovost also assumes duties as general manager of both the Sounders U-23 and the Sounders Women.
“I want to thank club owners Cliff McElroy and Lane Smith for this opportunity,” Prenovost said. “The history of these programs and the talent that has come through them speaks for itself. Darren, along with a massive commitment from ownership, built a culture and program that has assisted in the development of top talent that you can find in professional leagues across the world. I’m excited to carry on that work.”
Prenovost boasts a resume of over two decades as a coach, including being the all-time winningest coach in Northwest Athletic Conference history and winning one NWAC championship at Highline College and two at Tacoma Community College. As an assistant coach with the U-23s from 2012 to 2018, Prenovost worked with the over 50 club alumni who went on to sign professional contracts.
Along with his duties as a youth coach at Washington Premier FC, Prenovost is also the athletic director of Tacoma Community College, overseeing an overhaul and renovation in the college’s athletic facilities. Prenovost has coached youth teams that have won state and regional championships, as well as making two deep runs at a youth national championship.
Joining Prenovost on the bench for the U-23s will be Mike Jennings, who has coached in the club in one form or another since founding the Tacoma Tide in 2006. Along with a long history as a coach that includes winning the NAIA National Coach of the Year award in 1985, Jennings is a physical therapist and founding partner of MVP Physical Therapy and its Sport Residency Program. Jennings is also a part-owner of both Sounders U-23 and the Sounders Women.
Former Kitsap Pumas head coach Liviu Bird joins the coaching staff for the first time in 2019. In his time with the Pumas, Bird coached a dozen players who went on to sign professional contracts around the world. The UEFA B-licensed coach also coaches youth soccer for Seattle United and will be joining Kitsap Alliance FC in the spring. Bird has experience in all pre-professional levels of the game, coaching players from age 4 through to senior internationals who represented their country in World Cup qualifying matches.
Rounding out the coaching staff will be Philip Lund and John Yorke. Lund was on the staff in 2018 and currently plays for the Tacoma Stars indoor team. Lund’s playing career includes one year with the Seattle Sounders FC first team, as well as top-division clubs in his native Denmark, the Faroe Islands, and Malaysia.
Yorke has been the head men’s soccer coach at Pacific Lutheran University for 17 years and is also currently the boys director at Washington Premier FC. Yorke is has been named the Northwest Conference Coach of the Year five times, along with winning three conference titles, as the all-time winningest PLU men’s coach.
Sounders U-23 will be hosting tryouts on March 23 for the 2019 USL League Two season (click here to register). The season kicks off with a weekend doubleheader on May 17 and 19 against the Calgary Foothills and Lane United, respectively, at Sunset Stadium in Sumner.