The former EFL defender, current LSC Sporting Director tabbed as head coach ahead of inaugural League One season | Image Credit: Lexington Sporting Club
LEXINGTON, Ky. – A familiar face will take the reins of Lexington Sporting Club’s senior team, as the organization tabs Sam Stockley as the first-ever head coach for its League One season.
Stockley has served as Sporting Director since Lexington’s inception more than a year ago and has been a key figure in creating the club’s vision, culture and curriculum on the pitch. His efforts have helped Lexington build an inclusive and thorough player pathway which aims to develop homegrown talent at an elite level.
“I'm extremely humbled by this opportunity, and very fortunate I've been able to be here since the start of this football club,” Stockley said. “To now have this opportunity to be able to be the head coach really allows the culture we have created to stay true to the alignment of what the vision was from the very start.
“Our ownership deserves so much credit. Bill and Donna Shively, Stephen Dawahare and Carter Carnegie have created such a great atmosphere and provided such great resources and support. How they've cultivated and brought this staff together, and I include myself in that, really is a testament to why this project has been so successful and so special.
“It’s not often that you get to be part of building a football club from the ground up, and I’m extremely grateful for all that they have done. This opportunity also wouldn't be here for myself if I didn't have the amazing support from my family. The sacrifices they’ve made and the support they’ve given me has been tremendous. I owe everything to them, and it’s what drives me every day to be better.”
In just one calendar year, LSC has built a youth program featuring 1,400 players and nearly 100 coaches, which includes competition in elite leagues such as the Girls Academy and USL Academy. Each player trains under the same curriculum, regardless of age, allowing player movement throughout the club and the opportunity for homegrown professionals.
This “academy” approach is utilized by the most successful soccer clubs around the world and will change the access and opportunities granted to athletes in the area. With Stockley serving as head coach of the senior team, the LSC model will have seamless and unified leadership from the top down.
“This is a critical hire for the club, and we could not think of a better person to shepherd us into our inaugural professional season,” said Vince Gabbert, President of LSC. “Sam has already devoted countless hours building our program from top to bottom and has truly brought a holistic approach to Lexington where each player has a chance for success.
“Sam has been here to welcome new families in our youngest age groups, he’s helped players of former clubs adapt to their new home, and he’s introduced a pre-professional platform for male and female footballers that we haven’t had in this area before. The dedication he has exhibited toward the success of the club at every level makes him the perfect fit to oversee our first-ever senior team.”
A native of Tiverton, England, Stockley enjoyed a professional playing career for nearly 20 years, competing in England, Hungary and the United States with the likes of Colchester United FC, Wycombe Wanderers FC, Port Vale FC, Ferencvárosi TC and North Carolina FC, among others.
Following his time on the pitch, Stockley gained experience as a coach and technical director throughout various levels in the United States and England and was with the Football Association of Wales for two years prior to joining LSC.
Stockley will remain the Sporting Director for Lexington and will soon add to his first team staff, which currently includes Head of Goalkeeping, Connor Talbot. Two more assistant coaches will be announced in the coming weeks.
Lexington will kick off its inaugural USL League One campaign next spring.