ROCKFORD, Ill. (February 17, 2020) Rockford FC announced its coaching staff on Monday with Brett Suhayda being named its first head coach in team history.
Suhayda has coached at Waubonsee Community College for the last 11 seasons where he has won five conference championships and has been named coach of the year four times.
"I am honored and humbled to be selected as Rockford FC's Head Coach for the inaugural season," said Suhayda. "I want to thank the Rockford FC board for this fantastic opportunity."
"We are excited to bring in a coach the caliber of Brett," said the RFC Board of Directors. "His record and quality made our decision very easy. He shares our same goals and ideas that we want to enforce such as our focus on player development and desire for a creative and entertaining style of play."
Suhayda led the Chiefs to a 13-5-1 record in 2019 and also took WCC to the NJCAA Division I National Tournament for the first time in school history back in 2017.
"I am incredibly fortunate to now be a part of a team that feels so passionate about the game of soccer and the continued development of players in the community," Suhayda said. "With the incredible amount of talent in the Rockford area combined with the support of the Rockford community, I think we can build something very special."
Suhayda graduated from Oswego High School in 2001 and went on to play at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin. He also played and coached with Aurora Borealis SC.
"When we met with Brett, we knew right away that he was the right choice for our players," said the RFC Board of Directors. "We are confident he will make the club a success which the local soccer community and Rockford needs."
RFC also named Christian Bitangalo as an assistant coach.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo native comes to RFC after graduating from Guilford High School.
Bitangalo was the team captain for the Vikings before playing at the University of St. Francis for two seasons where he started 36 games as a defender for the Fighting Saints.
Bitangalo has coached kids at the Rockford Panthers Soccer Club and served as an assistant at Illinois Valley Community College.
"For me, having a semi-professional team here in Rockford is a great opportunity for us to keep helping young players continue their soccer careers and keep their dreams alive to go compete at a high level," said Bitangalo. "We have so many talented players here in Rockford, but we never have this opportunity to go compete at a high level. Finally, we have a team and it is time to put our boys to work."
Mauricio Espinoza will also serve as an assistant for Rockford FC.
The native Ecuadorian moved to the United States in the late 1990's after playing professionally for C.S.D. Universidad Tecnológica Equinoccial.
"I have always desired to coach a team at this level," said Espinoza. "When Samir offered to be part of the coaching staff, I felt this would be the opportunity to transmit my personal experiences to the young talents we have in the Rockford area."