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Charlotte Independence Soccer Club

Directors/Head Coaches announced

Carolina Rapids appoint Directors/Head Coaches for its Rapids West Program

Key hires bring experience, knowledge of the area

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Carolina Rapids Soccer Club have bolstered its Rapids West program with the hiring of some key coaches and directors, according executive director Thomas Finlay.

“We are only as strong as the leaders we put in place,” explained Finlay, “and we are confident that we have secured some of the finest and most experienced coaches and directors in the greater Charlotte area.”

Neil Orridge, a former Rapids coach, will serve as Rapids West director.
To follow are the hires that have been made:

Jonas Richardson
Director of Soccer
Carolina Rapids West

Contact: [email protected]

Jonas Richardson, who served as executive director for Gaston United Soccer Club the past two years, has joined the leadership team of Carolina Rapids West as Director of Soccer. Born and raised in Anderson, S.C., Richardson returns to the Rapids for his second stint with the club where he was a coach in the Youth Academy.

A former collegiate standout and team captain at Thomas University (in Thomasville, GA), Richardson holds his USSF B, National Youth License and NSCAA Premier Diploma. Richardson has also been a member of the NC ODP staff since 2011.

“We are thrilled to be adding someone of Jonas’ caliber to Carolina Rapids West,” said Orridge of Richardson, who was named N.C. Youth Soccer Coach of the Year in 2011. “His experience in youth soccer and the communities we serve will go a long way to helping us build for the future.”

Jon Kinman
Club Operations Director
Carolina Rapids West
[email protected]

After serving as Operations Manager & Junior Programs Director of Coaching for the Carolina Rush the past two years, Jon Kinman joins Carolina Rapids West as Club Operations Director.
With almost two decades worth of experience – coaching at Charlotte United Futbol Club and Charlotte Soccer Academy, Kinman’s experience and knowledge of the Gaston, Steele Creek and Belmont areas will be hugely beneficial to Rapids West.

Said Orridge: “Jon brings a wealth of knowledge within youth soccer and his passion and dedication to the players and the program will be unmatched. It is a strong statement that shows our ability to bring the best people into our new program.”

Jeff Phillips
Director of Coaching – Girls Program
Carolina Rapids West
[email protected]

Jeff Phillips joins Carolina Rapids West as Director of Coaching for its Girls Program. Born and raised in Charlotte, Phillips brings a tireless passion for the game – having developed players, within different age groups, for the past 20 years. Phillips previously served as Technical Director and DOC for the Carolina Rush’s Gastonia program. “Jeff is determined to use his experience help lead the club and its players to new levels of excellence, and to see soccer in our community come together to form something truly special,” said Orridge.  

Efrain Tirado
Director of Coaching – Boys Program
Carolina Rapids West
[email protected]

Longtime Rapids coach Efrain Tirado has been tapped to serve as Carolina Rapids West Director of Coaching for the Boys Program. The Shelby, N.C. resident who played collegiately at Gardner Webb University—where he was a captain and South Atlantic All Conference selection—will be one of the pillars of the program that will serve the Belmont, Gastonia and Steele Creek communities.

Prior to joining the Rapids, Tirado, who is the founder of First Touch Soccer & Fitness, served as a Director of Coaching at Charlotte United. “Efrain, with his longevity in the area and reputation in the coaching community, will be a massive asset to the West program,” said Orridge. “His reputation as a coach, trainer and in youth soccer circles will benefit us immensely.”

For more information, email Neil Orridge at [email protected].


Established in 1987, Carolina Rapids Soccer Club has over 5,000 members – serving Recreation, Competitive, Boys U.S. Development Academy, Boys Elite Club’s National League (ECNL), Girls ECNL and Adult Recreation. Built on the tent poles to serve the community through soccer, the Rapids are the first and only club throughout greater Charlotte to have won a U.S. Youth National Championship. Providing an economic impact of $10 million to the communities it serves, the Rapids are a proud part of the Colorado Rapids Adidas Alliance, one of five clubs nationally to hold that acclaim. While its overall mission is player development – at all levels – the Rapids execute that mission with its “5 C’s” top of mind: CHARACTER, COMMITMENT, COMPETITION, COMMUNITY, and COMMUNICATION. The Rapids have enjoyed steady growth in its three decades, with geographic locations in Cabarrus, Denver, North Mech, South Charlotte and West. For more information, visit the club’s web home at, Twitter and Instagram.

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