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Birmingham Legion FC Academy

The Birmingham Legion FC Academy consists of one team that will compete in the inaugural USL Academy League. The team is comprised of players aged U16 through U19 (birth years 02, 03, 04, and 05) and operates in conjunction with Legion FC affiliated clubs. The purpose behind this model is to help identify and foster local talent with player development at the forefront. 

The 2021 Legion FC Academy Schedule:





Saturday, July 10


South Georgia Tormenta FC

BBVA Field

Sunday, July 25


South Carolina United


Saturday, July 31


Southern Soccer Academy

BBVA Field

Wednesday, August 11


Peachtree City MOBA

BBVA Field

Saturday, August 14


East Atlanta FC


Our values are strongly aligned with our club identity. The Three Sparks represented on our badge symbolize our club's core values.

Each spark represents:
Pride: In our City and our Club.
Passion: For the love of the game.
Community: Collaborating with affiliated clubs to develop  youth players from our diverse community to reach their full potential.

With player development at the forefront, our goal is to positively impact players in preparation for the collegiate and professional level.

We are committed to establishing a professional pathway for players across the state of Alabama. Identifying and developing homegrown talent will allow players the opportunity to one day compete with the Legion FC first team. 

Our affiliation with local clubs provides a network and platform to ensure the focus remains on long-term development. 

Player development is our top priority. Through training sessions, matches, and tournaments, players will participate in a competitive environment that will enhance their technical and tactical skills.

Our first team staff takes an active role in development and oversight through consistent collaboration with academy staff and through monitoring the progress of Legion FC Academy players.

We are committed to incorporating our elite Academy players into first team training in order to develop their potential and exposure to a professional environment.

Marcos Ugarte

Head Coach

Ugarte began his coaching career as an assistant at the University of Michigan in 2017. During that time he also served as head coach for the Under-12 boys and girls teams at Saline FC, a youth soccer club in the Ann Arbor, MI area. In 2019, Ugarte continued his coaching career in Alabama with Trussville United as head coach of the Under 18 boys.

Currently on Legion FC's first team, Ugarte begins his sixth year as a pro. Prior to joining Legion FC in 2019, Ugarte played abroad for Danish 2nd Division side Ringkobing IF. He spent two seasons with the Rochester Rhinos of the USL Championship and was part of the roster that won USL Cup in 2015. At the collegiate level, he spent two years at Providence College before finishing out his college career at the University of Michigan. 

Ugarte holds his USSF 'C' License.

Matt VanOekel

Assistant/Goalkeeper Coach

VanOekel, who is the current goalkeeper and goalkeeper coach for the Legion FC first team, began his coaching career in 2008 with the Minnesota United Academy girls’ program. Since 2008, his previous coaching stints include the men’s and women’s goalkeeper coach at St. Olaf College, associate head coach for the men’s and women’s program at Dakota County Technical College, and the goalkeeper coach at Carleton College. Since 2018, VanOekel founded Front Foot GK, a goalkeeping training company that hosts camps, clinics, and private training for aspiring goalkeepers.   

Entering his 14th pro season, and third with Legion FC, VanOekel’s playing career dates back to 2008 where he signed for Minnesota United in the NASL. After seven seasons with Minnesota, he played for FC Edmonton, Real Salt Lake of MLS, and Oklahoma City Energy. Collegiately, VanOekel played at Longwood University before transferring to Rutgers University from 2005-2007.  

VanOekel holds his USSF “C” License.  

For any inquiries regarding the academy team, please email Academy Head Coach Marcos Ugarte at

For age groups U9 through U12, find more information about the Legion FC Development League by heading to our D-League page