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Carolina Core FC Academy Announces  Donovan Ricketts as Head of Goalkeeping Methodology and Derek Landry as MLS NEXT Coach 


High Point, NC (April 25, 2024) – CCFC Academy today announced the appointment of Donovan Ricketts as Head of Goalkeeping Methodology for the MLS NEXT Academy and Derek Landry as the Director of Performance.

CCFC Academy is a fully-funded scholarship soccer academy that is designed to develop professional and collegiate soccer players. CCFC Academy participates in the MLS NEXT league, which is the highest level of youth soccer in the US. Starting in fall of 2024 CCFC Academy will have a U13 boys and U14 boys' teams.

Ricketts will assist the CCFC MLS NEXT Pro staff providing ample experience as a professional goalkeeper coach. With over 100 appearances for the Jamaican Men’s National Team and a 2-time MLS Goalkeeper of the Year, Ricketts will serve as a great resource for the staff. Following his professional player career, Ricketts served as the Goalkeeper Coach for FC Tulsa (formerly the Tulsa Roughnecks) from 2017 to 2023. Additionally, Ricketts spent the 2022 regular season as FC Tulsa’s interim Head Coach.

“Donovan is one of the greatest goalkeepers in the history of Major League Soccer as a two-time MLS Goalkeeper of the Year. He will provide the goalkeeping philosophy and curriculum for the MLS NEXT program," said Eddie Pope, CCFC Academy Executive Director.

Ricketts will work to develop the goalkeeping methodology for the CCFC MLS NEXT Academy coaches to carry out daily.

With the recommendation from CCFC Academy Executive Director Eddie Pope, new CCFC Academy Director of Performance Derek Landry will be joining the staff as well to implement a sports science program for the MLS Next teams that models the professionals.

Landry joins CCFC Academy having amassed over 10 years of experience in sports performance, working in a variety of roles including both strength and conditioning as well as sports science. Since September 2022, he has worked as the Strength Coach of the Colorado Rapids 2 in the MLS Next Pro league. In this role, he worked as a sports scientist, contributing to the on-field workload and athletic development sessions for players. Landry’s contributions helped the club to the best overall record in the 2023 MLS NEXT Pro Regular Season.

“We needed an experienced, multitalented individual like Derek to help us develop, build, and implement a transformational sports science program into our MLS NEXT program. Derek's ability to leverage data, analytics, nutrition, strength, and conditioning in a way that benefits the roster and gives players the information they need to be successful is pivotal in helping develop our players,” said Pope.

For an elite level player’s first year in the MLS NEXT program, the involvement of Donovan Ricketts and Derek Landry who also work with CCFC’s MLS Next Pro team is a unique opportunity that ensures that the goalkeeping and sports science philosophies of the first team are integrated into the youth MLS NEXT program.

To learn more about CCFC Academy, click here.