|Former Eagles coach Dixon returns to Charlotte with Indy Eleven|
|Won PDL title before heading to USL side|
|Published Thursday, April 26, 2018 8:43 pm|
|PHOTO | TROY HULL|
|Dave Dixon, center, who coached the Charlotte Eagles to the 2017 PDL title, returns home as Indy Eleven's assistant coach.|
Dave Dixon turned to coaching to stay in soccer.
He returns to Charlotte on April 28 as a USL assistant coach with Indy Eleven after spending the last four years with the Charlotte Eagles.
“I realized pretty quickly that I wasn’t a good enough player,” said Dixon, who was a two-time All-America at Hougton College in the 1990s and went onto play for the Eagles as well as the Jackson Chargers. “I love the game, and I wanted to stay in it at a pretty high level. I transitioned pretty quickly into trying to learn how to be a coach.”
Indy Eleven’s transition from NASL to USL included an overhaul in organization, which led to hiring coach Martin Rennie. A former Eagles midfielder, Rennie played with Dixon during the 1996-97 season.
“We’ve been good friends for a long time, and talked for about the last six-eight years about working together,” Dixon said. “When he got this position, he gave me a call and said he wanted me to come and be a part of the staff. I felt like it was the right timing and scenario for me and for my family.”
Indy Eleven (3-1, nine points, fourth in the USL East) travels to North Carolina to face the ninth place Jacks (2-2-1 seven points). Dixon’s time in Charlotte included coaching against the Independence in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup as well as friendlies between the sides. He also collaborated with them at various offseason combines.
“It’ll be great to see Dave,” Independence coach Mike Jeffries said. “We have tremendous respect for Dave and what he brings, and for what he has done in terms of his ability to identify under-the-radar guys as well as his soccer knowledge and coaching ability. He did a great job with the Eagles, both in terms of bringing in a really good group of guys, and how he managed them.”
Dixon is primarily responsible for analysis, coaching sessions and scouting with Indy Eleven.
“I’ll have a pretty big role in identifying players for the future, concentrating on domestic players—college and MLS players we may be interested in the future,” he said. “We’ve got guys with MLS experience, guys with national team experience, guys who have won NASL championships, and guys who have played many years in the USL. At the end of the day, everybody is still the same. They want to compete, they want to get better, they want you to help make them a better player, and they want the team to succeed.”
Two decades after he embarked on his coaching journey as an assistant at Roberts Wesleyan College, Dixon has coached at the collegiate level as well as the PDL, winning the 2017 title with the Eagles. He earned 2015 PDL coach of the year in the Eagles’ first season after self-relegating from the USL. His time in Charlotte also included the serving as Charlotte Soccer Academy director of coaching for Matthews. He commutes nine hours to and from Indianapolis with his wife Kerri, son Brode and daughter Emmelyn remaining in Charlotte.
“I’m stepping away from both of those roles [Eagles and CSA], because of the time commitment of the USL season,” Dixon said. “I’m not going to do anything in the first year in any kind of youth soccer. In the offseason when I’m back here, I’m mostly going to relax and watch my son play baseball and my daughter play soccer. With professional soccer, there’s not a ton of stability and we want to make sure before uproot everybody that this is the right place, and we get something together long-term.”
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