We pride ourselves on recruiting & maintaining the one of the most talented pool of coaches in our region. Through our full-circle philosophy we're able to attract ex-college, ex-semi-pro, and ex-pro players to start their coaching career with the Rapids. Take a look at our remarkable staff and know that coaching recruitment, education, and retainment is of our upmost priority. Thank you Rapids’ coaches!
Ryan is the President of the Flathead Rapids Soccer Organization and was instrumental in establishing ground breaking programs at the youth academy level. He currently holds a USSF National D license and NSCAA National Coaching Diploma, and continues to further his coaching education to meet up with the changing dynamics of the game. Currently, Ryan is the head coach for Glacier high school and is the Academy Micro Director (since 2010) for the Flathead Rapids Spring Academy program. Prior to moving to Montana in 2005, Ryan coached the Pueblo West High School Boys and Girls team from 2001-2005. He played collegiately at the University of Southern Colorado (Division II) in the RMAC and was recognized as a Two-Time RMAC All Conference Player.
Ryan has a beautiful family and enjoys spending time exploring Northwest Montana with his wife Erika and his two sons Mason and Taylor. Along with his passion and love of the game, he and his family enjoy; Biking, Fly-fishing, Cross Country Skiing, Hiking and many other recreational activities.
Ryan is excited about the future of soccer in the area and is dedicated to the positive growth and progression of the game as a learning tool that goes well beyond the teachings of soccer.
Roland Benedict was an All-State soccer player at Bigfork High School. He was offered scholarships to play in college but turned them down to take a chance at playing in England. Shortly after arriving in the UK he had tryouts with Gillingham FC and Southend United, with Southend attempting to offer him a contract that fell through due to visa issues. Roland then returned home, but continued his pursuit of a professional contract. He began playing with the Rapids Men’s team, and he fell in love with the club and what they were trying to accomplish. He became a Rapid through and through. In the Summer of 2010 he was offered a training opportunity with Manchester City, one of the biggest clubs in the world. While at Manchester City his skill level was evaluated at the level of a 2nd Division Italian player. He was sent to Belgium where he tried out for several teams, including Club Brugge and Lierse SK. Roland eventually signed a contract with Racing Gent for one year. Following his professional career, Roland returned to his roots here in the Flathead and has become an integral part of the soccer community. He is the director of the private mentoring program, the varsity high school girls coach at Whitefish High School, the head coach of the U16 men's Flathead Valley United team, and continues to play with the Rapids Men's Premier team. He is very excited to give back to the Flathead Valley soccer community.
Ryan Heflin is the former Executive Director of the Flathead Rapids and Executive Committee Member of Flathead Valley United. He currently is the head coach of the U15 FVU Premier Team, as well as one of the Montana State Olympic Development Program coaches. He has been coaching in the valley since 2014, heading up teams from U10 to U16. From days playing and coaching in the Seattle area, he has traveled the world and is excited to be based here in the Flathead Valley. He holds a National Coaching Diploma, Director of Coaching Diploma, and a USSF D License.
John Lacey grew up playing competitive soccer in the Midwest, including 3+ years of varsity experience at Carleton College in Minnesota. John began his official coaching career with 2 years as Asst Coach of the Carleton women’s team. After moving to Helena, MT, John coached with Helena High and the Arsenal club program. He and his wife moved to Whitefish in 1998, where John coached a total of 4 seasons as an assistant with the Whitefish High School boys & girls programs, including the WHS boys’ first state championship season (2002). John was also a head coach of multiple boys and girls select teams with the Whitefish Sting (predecessor to Glacier United/Flathead Rapids). As his own family grew, John’s coaching turned to younger rec level teams, and he also became a licensed MOA referee for Montana high school games. He holds a USSF “D” coaching license.
Jelisa grew up in Kalispell playing competitively for the Force, and won the MYSA State Championship 3 times from U12-U18. She played for Flathead High School and graduated froin 06. Jelisa also played for MYSA ODP as a junior, was Gatorade Player of the year for Montana senior year, selected to the NSCAA/Adidas All-Region VII Team, and made First Team All-State Junior and Senior year.
Jelisa Went on the play at MSUB on a full ride then transferred to the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. She Was voted GNAC player of the week freshman year at MSUB, and holds 2 college records for most goals in a game and most assists in a game.
Returning to Montana, Jelisa continued to play after college for the Adult women's Rapids team and get into coaching. She coached Whitefish High School as an assistant for 2 years, Glacier High School as an assistant for 3 years, a u-12 club team for the Rapids, multiple camps through college, as well as helped with club teams in Billings. Jelisa now coaches the girls Premier U-14 team and is excited to be part of the Rapids in the future.
Patty was born in Spokane, WA where she began playing soccer at age four. She played for the Spokane Falcons before moving to Kalispell in middle school and joining the Flathead Force. She went to Glacier High School where she was a four-year varsity letter winner, All-State goalkeeper, and All-Conference goalkeeper her junior and senior years respectively.
She continued her playing career as a three-year starting goalkeeper at Northwest University in Kirkland, WA from 2011-2014. During that time she was CCC Defensive Player of the Week 5x, NAIA National Defensive Player of the Week Nominee 3x, Second Team All-Conference 1x, First Team All-Conference 2x, as well as team captain and honorable mention NAIA All-American her senior year. Her team was regular season conference champs twice and competed in the conference final all four years.
Patty loves the game and has been passionate about giving back since high school, coaching many camps in Montana and Washington. Spring 2014 she was the head coach of a Palestinian middle school girls team in Bethlehem, Israel. Spring 2016 she worked for the Seattle Reign before moving back to the Flathead Valley where she quickly jumped in with the Rapids and began coaching goalkeepers at Glacier. She has coached the U11 and U12 girls and will continue with U13 this fall, as well as assisting at Whitefish High School. Patty holds her USSF D License.
Daniel grew up in Davis, CA and enjoyed a successful youth club career from U11-U19, winning two Northern California state championships and the U16 Triple Crown National Title with the Davis Cosmos and Sacramento United clubs, respectively. He was an All-Conference defenseman at Jesuit College Preparatory, which was then ranked #1 nationally by both the NSCAA and ESPN Rise FAB50 polls for Division I schools. At age 17, Daniel began offering individualized training sessions for Davis Youth Soccer Club athletes and trained U14 and U15 boys at the prestigious Jesuit Soccer Camp where he first fell in love with coaching the beautiful game.
At 18, Daniel joined Esporte Clube Pinheiros in Sao Paulo, Brasil, playing for one season before sustaining an injury during a tryout for the Palmeiras Development Academy. He returned to the United States after a year to where he captained the intercollegiate men's club soccer team at the University of California, Davis.
In 2005, Daniel travelled to Shenzhen, China after college where he trained the men's soccer team at Tsinghua University ahead of the program's inaugural season. While living and working in San Francisco, Daniel was a player-coach for a competitive men's team that travelled throughout Central America competing in a series of international tournaments in Honduras, El Salvador, and Costa Rica before finally hanging up his cleats.
Daniel and his wife Laura moved permanently to the Flathead in February 2017, where they both practice law, hike, ski, and spoil their young dog Abby. He is incredibly excited to be part of Flathead Valley United community and to contribute to the club's success for years to come.
Rob had a successful youth and high school career, playing for the Pennsylvania ODP and a top-rated quad-A Pittsburgh area high school. Soccer has been a big part of his family, and his brother (class A) and father have advanced coaching licenses. Rather than play division III soccer in college he pursued his academic career at Penn State. As an adult he has continued to play recreationally and coach over these last two decades.
Jen graduated from Whitefish High School in 2007 as a two time All-State player. She went on to play for MSU-Billings for a year, then to play for the University of Colorado Colorado Springs for 3 years. During her time in Colorado, she coached a high school JV team and then took time to focus on a career. After relocating back to the beautiful Flathead valley, she is diving back in to soccer and the Rapids community. She currently holds an "F" license and is looking to get her "E" license in the next year.
Whitney lives in Whitefish and is the farm manager on a small, family-owned farm. She's played soccer for as long as she can remember from rec leagues, to a competitive traveling club team, and all her schools' teams. Her position of choice through college was goalkeeper, but since a shoulder injury and subsequent surgery, she is happy to now be able to run all over the field and try to remember her foot skills. Whitney coached a U-8 boys' competitive team in Vermont and is very excited to be working with the U-10 girls this year.
Callie is from McMinnville, Oregon. Her soccer career started at a young age, but really took off while playing soccer in Eugene, Oregon at Lane Community College. After two years at Lane, Callie took an opportunity to move to Dubuque, Iowa to play soccer at Clarke University and earn a four-year degree. In addition to having a successful soccer career at Clarke, Callie graduated with a degree in elementary education. While in Iowa, she also coached for the Dubuque Soccer Club, and really found her love of coaching. Callie and her family are fairly new to the Flathead Valley, and she is excited to be a part of the Rapids Club
Diane Skyland has been hooked on soccer since the age of four. As a freshman she held the position of starting defender for the Campbell County High School varsity team. Later in her high school career, as a captain, she helped lead the Camels to the Wyoming State Championship game for two consecutive years. She has been active in both playing in and coordinating soccer programs for the University of Wyoming, the Gold Gate Women’s Soccer League, and Hawai’i Pacific University. Diane has been passionate about coaching youth soccer since age seventeen and is excited to be a part of the Flathead Rapids program both as a coach and a player. Diane currently holds an USSF “E” license.
Steve was born and raised in Beatrice, Nebraska. He began playing soccer at a young age and began his competitive career with a local traveling team. In middle school he would go onto play for bigger clubs in Lincoln competing with the CSA Gold in Nebraska's Division I and the LFC Hawks in Nebraska's Premiere Division. In his high school career Steve was a four year varsity letter winner and captained the team his last two years where he played as a central midfielder. After high schoool he played two years for Division II side Rockhurst University in Kansas City where he studied cell and molecular biology. Upon returning to Nebraska Steve coached various age groups at his hometown club where he got his start. He moved to Montana just months ago to work for a friends HVAC company in Kalispell and is excited to get involved with the Rapids!
O’Brien is a 1995 graduate of Columbia Falls High School, where he captained his high school team his Junior and Senior years. He earned a college soccer scholarship at McPherson College in Kansas, where he earned a Elementary Education Degree. He captained his college team his Junior and Senior years and earned KCAC All Conference Honorable Mention. Byrd started every game but one in his college career. In 1999 he returned home and became the assistant soccer coach at Columbia Falls HS and junior varsity coach for one season. In 2002 he was the head assistant coach at Middletown HS in Pennsylvania were his team finished as State Semi Finalists. He also signed a professional soccer contract with the Reading Rage and played for them that spring, but sustained an injury and returned home in 2003 to coach the Whitefish Bulldog soccer team. In his eleven seasons with the Bulldogs, Byrd has 6 State Final appearances and 4 state championships. Byrd reached his 100th victory in 2012. O’Brien holds a USSF “B” License, a NSCAA Professional Development Certificate, and a National Dutch Federation KNVB Coaching Certificate. In 2012 he was voted NSCAA National High School Coach of the Year.
Thomas was an All-State Goalkeeper at Whitefish High School, where he served as captain and helped his team win two Montana State Championships. A three year starter in high school, Thomas was tops in the state in save percentage and shutouts both his junior and senior year.
After his high school career, Thomas accepted an athletic scholarship to play goalkeeper for the Evergreen State College Geoducks, in Olympia Washington. As a senior at Evergreen, Thomas received Cascade Collegiate Academic All-Conference Honors and was also voted as the team’s Most Inspirational Player by his teammates and coaches. Thomas left Evergreen as the only undefeated starting goalkeeper in the program’s history.
After a four year collegiate career, Thomas returned to the Flathead valley to coach. In the Fall of 2017, Thomas became the Head Goalkeeper Coach for Columbia Falls High School Men’s and Women’s programs. Thomas has served as the Head Goalkeeper Coach for our Flathead Rapids Summer Camp over the past three years, and is excited to begin coaching with the U13 Boys team this Spring.
Mark’s 3 children all started playing soccer at 5 to 6 years old. His love for the game grew with theirs. When Joe, his oldest son was 12, he decided to try the keeper position. With no one around to train keepers, Mark jumped in. Mark and Joe’s passion for the keeper position started there. Over 12 years, Mark’s ability to train keepers grew from running training sessions, attending any keeper camps that Joe attended, helping at keeper training camps and gathering training info from every source he could find.
Today Mark trains keepers at university level, for several clubs and high schools and for all ages. His goal is to give keepers the opportunity to achieve their athletic/soccer/life goals by giving them proper training for this special position.
Mark has his USSF E License and NSCAA Level 1 Goal Keeping Diploma
Sam Ashe grew up in San Diego, California. He began playing soccer at a young age with AYSO and USA club soccer. He attended Granite Hills High School and played soccer 1989-1993. He went on to play at Cuyamaca college 1993-1994. He was fortunate to have his high school and college soccer coached by Rene Miramontes. In 1994 he married his high school sweetheart and moved to Montana to pursue a doctorate in pharmacy at the University of Montana. Sam graduated in 2000 and moved to the Flathead Valley. Since moving, Sam has coached in the rec leagues, Academy programs and assisted Rapids club teams.
Kaitlyn was born and raised in Whitefish. She went to Whitefish High School where she took home two,second place state titles, and a State Championship in 2006. Kaitlyn had an opportunity to play at the next level in college and chose Rocky Mountain College to continue her playing career. During that time she also began playing for the Adult Rapids Premier Team. After college she returned to the Whitefish community wanting to continue playing at a competitive level and made the Rapids her home. She immediately became involved in coaching our youth programs through academy and camps. She has been coaching the Spring Academy and the Select Level for the last 5 years as well as assistant coaches for Glacier High School the last 4 years. She is actively involved in fundraising, helping run camps, and still plays for the Rapids Women's Premier team. She believes in our full circle philosophy and gives back to the Rapids any chance she gets. Kaitlyn holds her USSF 'E' License and will be getting her USSF 'D' License this spring.
Elle grew up in San Jose, CA where she played soccer from the age of 7 for a competitive club team called the Lock. In high school, she played varsity for three years and was the team captain her senior year. She went on to play club and intramural soccer in college at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, CA. After college, Elle coached high school soccer, track, and cross country while teaching math for four years. In June of 2016, Elle and her fiancé moved to Whitefish and she became a substitute teacher and coached the JV Girl’s soccer team at Flathead High School. Elle joined the Rapids coaching staff in December of 2016 and will be coaching the 2004 girl’s team in the Spring of 2017. Elle holds an F coaching license and will be completing her E license in January 2017.
Kraig Moore grew up in Kennewick, Washington. He began playing soccer at a young age, and continues to play today. He attended High School and played club soccer in Kennewick, Washington and the surrounding area. After High School Kraig served in the United States Navy for five years, and was selected to participate on the All-Navy Soccer Team in 2003, 2005, and 2006. After completing his military service, Kraig attended college at Clarke University, in Dubuque, Iowa. While at Clarke, he played soccer for four years, was a three-time team voted captain, and a four-time team voted most valuable player. Kraig and his family are new to the Flathead Valley, and look forward to being a part of the Rapids Club.
Christopher started his soccer career at the age of 4 in the Billings rec league. Realizing his passion from a young age he became involved with the Magic City select program as soon as he could. He continued to play Magic city for 9 years. Christopher had a successful High School career where he played varsity all 4 years, 2 of which he lead his team as thecaptain. In high school, he was awarded the "Black Whistle" award from all the state referees. He continued on to play 2 years in college at North Idaho College. Here he was awarded "The spirit of the Cardinal". Wanting to further his career, he then moved to Los Angeles where he joined a team in the PASL called "Once Mas" for 1 season. This led him to a try out with a different team, aspiring to join the USL, Inland Empire Training F.C. He signed on and played 1 season leading his team to a league championship as starting center back by allowing the fewest goals conceded in a season. For this he was awarded league MVP and a starting positionon the All-Star team. For the past 10 years Christopher has played with the Flathead Rapids Men's Premier team where he now humbly resides. He is looking forward to an expansive season coaching tactics, technique and heart! Go Rapids!
Branton grew up in Moscow, Idaho where he honed his soccer skills playing midfield for Moscow United Club Soccer and Moscow High School, winning a state championship in 2000. He continued to play club soccer while earning a BS in Civil Engineering at the University of Idaho. After college, Branton continued to play on in Men's leagues while living and working in Anchorage, Alaska. He has coached summer camps and assisted with JV Moscow High School teams. In April, 2016 Branton moved to Whitefish put down roots in Montana and continue his career as a Structural Engineer. Branton credits the teamwork and camaraderie he experienced playing soccer as a youth with the development of essential life skills and professional success he enjoys as an adult. He continues to play soccer and is eager to share his passion for the game, helping young people fine-tune their skills and develop a deep appreciation and respect for the sport. He looks forward to being a part of the Flathead Rapids.
Oliver Van Everen
Born in Colorado, raised in Whitefish. I grew up playing in this program. I always loved the sport and now I am returning to the program to coach. I continued to play soccer at the varsity level through high school as a starting defenseman my senior year. I graduated this past spring and am taking a gap year before college. I assistant coached my first season this fall and am excited to coach again in the spring!!
Lexie is a graduate of Columbia Falls High School class of 2016. Her soccer career started at age 4 when she joined the rec league in Columbia Falls. Her passion for soccer never quit. She continued to play rec league and travel soccer up until high school. In high school, she played center defense and her team took home two-second place state trophies. She was team captain her senior year and received All-State defensive player her Junior and Senior year. After she graduated she knew she wanted to continue being involved in soccer, so she started coaching. Lexie is currently a full-time student at Flathead Valley Community College pursuing a degree in Elementary Education. She also has her E license.
RECREATIONAL COACHING STAFF
Columbia Falls Program
Janell Tanner Oneal
Whitefish Rec Program