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Sam Stockley: Head Coach at Lexington Sporting Club

Sam Stockley has been involved in helping to build Lexington Sporting Club from the ground up – now he will be the Kentucky franchise’s Head Coach in their debut season in America’s USL One.

The 45-year-old Football Careers client has worked as Sporting Director at the club since its birth just over a year ago.

Englishman Sam brought the experience from a fascinating playing career and the coaching knowledge he has accrued to the remit of creating a vision, culture and curriculum for the project.

Now Stockley’s sterling work in achieving that has been recognised by the club’s ownership as they hand him the chance to guide the first team when they make their League One bow in spring of 2023.

And Sam said: “I’m extremely humbled by this opportunity and very fortunate I’ve been able to be here since the start of this football club.

“To now have this opportunity to be able to be the head coach really allows the culture we have created to stay true to the alignment of what the vision was from the very start.

“Our ownership deserves so much credit. Bill and Donna Shively, Stephen Dawahare and Carter Carnegie have created such a great atmosphere and provided such great resources and support.

“How they’ve cultivated and brought this staff together, and I include myself in that, really is a testament to why this project has been so successful and so special.”

Stockley, the dedicated defender for almost two decades in the pro game, started out as a youth player at Southampton before starring for the likes of Barnet and Colchester United.

He then took a route less travelled and played for Hungarian giants Ferencvaros for two season before what became an influential adventure in the States playing in the USL with both FC New York and North Carolina Railhawks.

After he hung up his boots, Sam’s coaching journey saw him work at various levels both in the States and England and he had two fruitful years with the Football Association of Wales before making the move to Lexington. Now Sam is ready for the next step at an exciting level of the game in the States that is seeing rapid growth and he stressed:

“It’s not often that you get to be part of building a football club from the ground up and I’m extremely grateful for all that the owners have done. This opportunity also wouldn’t be here for myself if I didn’t have the amazing support from my family.


 “The sacrifices they’ve made and the support they’ve given me has been tremendous. I owe everything to them and it’s what drives me every day to be better.”

Stockley and his staff have had a whirlwind Year One and have built a youth program that now has 1,400 players and nearly 100 coaches.

He has created an Academy model with players training to a club curriculum that has brought structure and opportunities for the young players to grow and dream of first team progression.

Lexington Sporting Club President Vince Gabbert insists the dedication Sam has shown in that journey meant there was only one choice for the Head Coach role. Gabbert pointed out:

“This is a critical hire for the club and we could not think of a better person to shepherd us into our inaugural professional season. Sam has already devoted countless hours building our program from top to bottom and has truly brought a holistic approach to Lexington where each player has a chance for success.

“Sam has been here to welcome new families in our youngest age groups, he’s helped players of former clubs adapt to their new home, and he’s introduced a pre-professional platform for male and female footballers that we haven’t had in this area before.

“The dedication he has exhibited toward the success of the club at every level makes him the perfect fit to oversee our first-ever senior team.”

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    Since utilising my CV I have had interviews at a number of English Premier League and SPFL clubs before accepting a role in the USA. It is definitely a service which I will continue to use.

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