Zach Hanson becomes new Director of Girls Academy for Skyline Elite Soccer Club

January 2nd, 2024

Zach Hanson becomes new Director of Girls Academy for Skyline Elite Soccer Club.

Skyline Elite has hired Zach and Erica Hanson to the Girls Academy staff.  Zach and Erica are familiar faces in Charlottesville as both were popular coaches in the club in 2021-22.  Zach will take the reigns as Girls Academy Director, leading the girls’ side of the club with six elite teams, U13-U19, in the national Girls Academy League.  Erica will join as a Staff Coach directing the Girls Advisory Panel and providing technical support to players, coaches, and teams.  Both Zach and Erica will be actively coaching within the club serving as head coaches for two Skyline Elite teams each.


Zach has most recently been the Assistant Women’s Soccer Coach for Division 1 Eastern Kentucky University near Lexington, Kentucky.  While at EKU, Hanson served as the program’s recruiting coordinator while also leading training sessions, film sessions and opposition scouting.  EKU achieved its highest ever RPI ranking during Hanson’s tenure.  He has also been the head coach for Lexington Sporting Club’s U19 Girls Academy team while serving as an age group director at the GA Club.  Hanson was named to the prestigious 30 Under 30 Program with United Soccer Coaches, which honors 30 up and coming coaches under age 30 annually for a yearlong program of mentorship and continued education.  Prior to EKU, Hanson was an Assistant Women’s Soccer Coach at Virginia Military Institute while working on the Skyline Elite Girls Academy staff.  He also coached Skyline’s Pro 23 semi-pro Men’s and Women’s teams in Summer 2022.  Zach is currently enrolled in the US Soccer B License Course and holds the United Soccer Coaches Premier Diploma, Goalkeeper 1 License and Director of Coaching Diploma.  He graduated from Northwood University with a degree in Sports Management.


Erica is an accomplished coach in her own right.  She is currently enrolled in both the US Soccer B License as well as the Grassroots Coach Educator course and will be a US Soccer certified coach educator.   She has been the head coach for both the 2005 and 2009 Girls Academy teams with Lexington Sporting Club while also serving as the Assistant Women’s Coach at Centre College and the Head Coach at George Rogers Clark High School.  She led GRCHS to an unbeaten District and Regional Championship in 2023 and the school’s first State Championship appearance since 2019.  She has been a college, club, and high school coach for over 10 years.  Erica played collegiately at Northwood University in Michigan where she earned her degree in Sports Management.  When last in Charlottesville she worked as a Physical Education teacher in Albemarle County Schools.

Skyline Elite was launched in 2020 as an outgrowth of the SOCA club and has been a part of the Virginia Soccer Alliance since 2021.  The club has a regional footprint drawing high achieving players from communities throughout western VA.  Skyline Elite is a pre-eminent club in the Mid-Atlantic region competing in the Girls Academy League, a national league of many of the most competitive clubs in the country.

You can welcome Zach (and Erica) to the club at Zach’s email address: Zach.Hanson@SkylineEliteSC.org.


New Girls Academy Director, Zach Hanson said:

“I’m extremely excited to be back at Skyline and back in the Charlottesville area.  My family and I loved the club and community the first time we were here, and we are super grateful that Matt and Jimmy gave us the opportunity to come back in these roles.  I think the Girls Academy program at Skyline has only scratched the surface of what it can be.  I’m looking forward to helping take the club to the next level, as we continue to develop great players and great humans, while helping them achieve their goals of playing collegiately and professionally.”


New Girls Academy Staff, Erica Hanson said:

“I am incredibly eager to be back in a coaching role at Skyline. The amount of support shown to myself and my family the first time we were involved with the club was unmeasurable. The staff here has been amazing through the years and continued that high level character through this process. We are thrilled to aide in the advancement of the young women in the club both as players as well as people.”


Skyline Elite Technical Director, Jimmy Tharpe said:

“We are delighted to bring Zach in as our next Girls Academy Director.  Zach has a passion for player development, and he understands the importance of cultivating the Skyline Elite culture that attracts some of the best players in the region.  Zach’s background in college coaching will also be a huge benefit to our players as they go through the recruiting process.”


Executive Director of the Virginia Soccer Alliance, Matt Wilson said:

“I enjoyed getting to know Zach and Erica when they were with us two years ago.  The opportunity to bring them back to Charlottesville was too good to pass up.  Zach emerged as the strongest candidate for the Girls Academy position during our interview process.  His experience is pertinent and he comes with impressive energy and ideas to ramp up our Skyline Elite girls program.  Erica and Zach will be a great team to help lead our program forward.  I welcome them both back to Skyline Elite.”