Tom Heinemann while playing for the Vancouver Whitecaps in 2016. (Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports)
CHICAGO – U.S. Soccer has appointed Tom Heinemann as the new head coach of the U.S. Under-15 men’s youth national team, it was announced on Friday.
Heinemann brings a diverse array of experience, coaching, playing and working in the game at a variety of levels in the United States.
He joins U.S. Soccer from working as an assistant coach at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. and the Tennessee Soccer Club. Heinemann also serves as academy director at the Covenant Soccer Academy and leading Heinemann Soccer, an organization that hosts camps, clinics and small group training to improve players at all skill levels. Heinemann holds a U.S. Soccer “A” Coaching License.
“We’re happy to have Tom join U.S. Soccer to lead our U-15 men’s youth national team,” U.S. men’s national team general manager Brian McBride said in a statement. “This age group is hugely important as our young players begin the pathway to reaching their highest potential. We were impressed by the variety of experience that Tom brings to the table and are excited by the potential we see in him to continue growing as a high-level coach. I’m certain he’ll be a great leader for our youngest top talents.”
Heinemann began his coaching career during his playing career across levels in the U.S. He appeared in 225 matches across Major League Soccer, the North American Soccer League, United Soccer League and USSF Division 2. He won league championships in 2010 and 2015, helping the Charleston Battery to the 2010 USL Championship as league MVP and leading the San Francisco Deltas in scoring en route to their 2017 NASL Championship.
“I’m honored to begin leading the U-15 men’s youth national tteam,” Heinemann said in a statement. “It’s a great privilege to work for U.S. Soccer and represent this country. I’m humbled and very excited for the opportunity to continue growing as a coach under the leadership of Brian, (Sporting Director) Earnie (Stewart), and (USMNT head coach) Gregg [Berhalter]. The U-15 age group is a critical stage for player development and overall entry into the National Team system, and I look forward to working with the players to continue their overall growth.”
In addition to his time on the field and on the touchline, Heinemann co-founded the United Soccer League Players’ Association in 2018, helping lead negotiations for the first collective bargaining agreement in U.S. lower division soccer history and achieving voluntary recognition from both the USL Championship and USL League One.
As an assistant at Belmont last fall, Heinemann helped lead the school to its most wins in program history, reaching the Southern Conference Championship Final in back-to-back seasons after rebuilding the program from a bottom 50 RPI (ratings power index) to top 50 in the country. For his efforts this season, Heinemann and his colleagues were named Southern Conference coaching staff of the year. Tennessee Soccer Club is the state’s largest soccer club and Heinemann developed a new finishing program for boys and girls while also assisting in the boys’ academy.
Heinemann also served as an assistant coach at Yale University, helping the program record its first winning season in seven years, and at the University of British Columbia, helping the team win the 2013 Canadian national collegiate championship. While playing with the Columbus Crew, Heinemann also worked in the club’s academy system.
His first training camp with the U-15 MYNT is scheduled for Feb 21-28 at the Elite Athlete Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif. He will prepare the team for future Concacaf U-15 Boys’ Championships. The USA reached the semifinals of the 2019 competition, falling to Portugal, and finished runner-up at the inaugural 2017 tournament.
In his role, Heinemann will work closely with U.S. U-17 men’s youth national team head coach Gonzalo Segares to maximize the development, evaluation and movement of players between the age groups for training camps and matches during the two-year U-17 cycle.