As a prior MLS Coach of the Year nominee, Soehn is a well-known and respected name in American professional soccer circles. Most recently, he served as a scout for the Columbus Crew, after spending four years as an assistant coach and interim head coach with the New England Revolution.
Soehn was named the Vancouver Whitecaps first Director of Soccer Operations in 2010, where he developed and managed the club’s inaugural roster, player scouting, and identification and recruitment system as the club prepared to enter the MLS in 2011.
Soehn’s most successful years coaching came in his time with D.C. United from 2004-2009. He won an MLS Cup and Supporter’s Shield as an assistant coach before claiming a second Shield and a U.S. Open Cup championship as head coach.
After completing his playing career in 2000 with his hometown club, Chicago Fire, Soehn began his coaching career in the Windy City under U.S. coaching greats Bob Bradley and Dave Sarachan, winning another U.S. Open Cup in 2003.
As an MLS player, Soehn won his first U.S. Open Cup with the Dallas Burn and then two more Open Cups and an MLS Cup in three years playing for Chicago. Prior to his MLS days, Soehn played professionally in the Major Indoor Soccer League for the Wichita Wings, in the Canadian Soccer League for the Ottawa Intrepid and Hamilton Steelers, in the American Professional Soccer League, where he won two titles, with the Colorado Foxes, the National Professional Soccer League for the Denver Thunder, and the Continental Indoor Soccer League for the Las Vegas Dustdevils.
While primarily working with the First Team, Martinez will also assist the Legion FC Academy and the Club’s USL League Two team, alongside Legion FC Assistant Coach Eric Avila. Martinez makes his way to Birmingham after two years serving as Head of Recruitment for the academy of Major League Soccer club Charlotte Fc, where he ‘focused on identification and recruitment of talent.’
After his selection in the 2014 Major League Soccer SuperDraft, Martinez played professionally for Sporting Kansas City for a season, before making 116 appearances in five seasons with then USL Championship side Charlotte Independence. While in Charlotte, Alex spent most of that time playing alongside his brother, Enzo, Legion FC’s 2022 Team MVP.
Born in Montevideo, Uruguay, Martinez moved to the U.S. at age nine and was a multi-time state champion in Rock Hill, South Carolina while attending Northwestern High School. The versatile midfielder then played collegiate soccer at High Point and NC State, where he was First-Team All ACC. Martinez also spent time with the Premier Development League’s Carolina Dynamo and North American Soccer League’s Carolina RailHawks, before being drafted.
“I’m extremely excited to join the Birmingham Legion FC coaching and technical staff,” said Martinez. “[Head Coach] Tommy [Soehn], [President & GM] Jay [Heaps], Eric, and the rest of the staff have done an excellent job of putting together an extremely competitive group. The potential of this team, and what we can achieve together, is very exciting and enticing for me as a coach, as is the dedication of the fans behind the team.
“I’m looking forward to working with this group, reuniting with my brother [Enzo Martinez] on the pitch, and pursuing a championship win for Birmingham.”
Avila spent the 2021 season coaching the San Diego Nomads under-15 MLS Next Academy team.
He played for San Diego Loyal SC in the USL Championship in 2020, made 34 appearances with four assists for Legion FC in 2019, spent 2018 with the Las Vegas Lights, 2017 in Phoenix with Rising FC, and 2016 with the Rowdies in Tampa.
Before Avila joined the Rowdies, he appeared in 174 games across eight seasons in Major League Soccer with FC Dallas, Toronto FC, Chivas USA, and Orlando City SC.
The now 34-year-old also had a successful college career, capped off by scoring the game-winning goal for UC-Santa Barbara in the 2006 NCAA Division 1 Men’s Soccer Championship. While in college, Avila played in USL League Two for the San Fernando Valley Quakes and Ventura County Fusion.
As a youth player, Avila was in residency with the United States U-17 National Team program at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, and spent time playing with the Under-20’s. He was also a member of the Chivas USA U-19 team before enrolling at UCSB.
Avila has his USSF ‘B’ License and is working towards his USSF ‘A’ License.
Barlow joined Legion FC in 2019 following a year as Strength and Conditioning Coach with the United States Men’s National Team. He also brings prior MLS experience, having helped Real Salt Lake win an MLS Cup Championship, two Conference Championships, and appearances in the U.S. Open Cup and CONCACAF Champions Cup finals.
His career began with his alma mater, the University of Maryland, as Strength and Conditioning Coach. He later founded Barlow Consulting, and served in roles of Strength and Conditioning Coach and Director of Sports Science and Performance for Salt Lake from 2007 to 2016.
Barlow joined Heaps and Legion FC Head Coach Tom Soehn in New England in 2017 as the Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Revolution, then spent time working at the Heiden Institute for Sports Science and Human Performance as High-Performance Manager before joining the national team. He also spent the 2018 USL Championship season as Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Charlotte Independence.
ARI DEL ORBE
MEDICAL TRAINING STAFF
Marc Bernier, DPT, MPT, CSCS, has been involved in the sport of soccer for over 40 years, and brings extensive sports medicine experience to Birmingham Legion FC. In 1996, he served as the physical therapy coordinator for the Olympic soccer games held in Birmingham, and was a member of the MLS Athletic Training Advisory Board in 2003. Marc went on to become the Director of HealthSouth Soccer International, and developed close ties with several top clubs in the Turkish Super Lig, becoming an official Sports Medicine Consultant for Galatasaray SK, who went on to beat Arsenal in the 2000 UEFA Cup Finals during his time with the club.
Over the course of his career, he has had the extremely good fortune of working or consulting with soccer players from The English Premier League, Serie A, Major League Soccer, and the National Teams of the United States, England, Turkey, Brazil and Russia, including 4 players that participated in the 2002 FIFA World Cup.
A native of Long Island, NY, Marc received his Masters Degree in Physical Therapy from the University of Delaware and Doctorate in 2015. He has been a very active educator, presenting on soccer specific injuries at the MLS Combine in 2004 for the Professional Soccer Athletic Trainers Society, and the National Soccer Coaches Association’s Annual Convention, in addition to a national lecturing series on youth sports injuries.