MEET THE RGA TEAM

AMANDA FORESTER

Head Goalkeeper Coach, Founder and Owner

Originally from Virginia Beach, Va, Coach Amanda has been in the soccer world for 25 plus years. More than 10 years playing experience and 14 years of coaching.  Her playing experience ranges from the Inaugural United Soccer League's 2003 Super Y League with the Hampton Roads Piranhas where she helped lead her team to the National Finals to Southeastern District ODP and VA State ODP Teams. Her coaching style and foundation first began with the Virginia Rush Travel Soccer Club programs, Kellam High School Varsity team, and continued through her collegiate soccer career at Ferrum College (NCAA DIII, ODAC).  

In Fall 2004, Coach Amanda became the youngest Director of Goalkeeping at the age of 17 for the Old Dominion Select Travel Soccer Club. She later worked with various PDP programs and travel teams with the Roanoke Stars Travel Soccer, Richmond Kickers, FC Richmond, and offered private coaching throughout the state of Virginia.  

Over the last 20 years she has expanded from Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Central Virginia and Northern Virginia helping goalkeepers and field players excel and move on to the D1, D2, D3 collegiate levels, High School Varsity, ECNL, Elite Travel teams, Eastern Regional ODP, VA State ODP and Southeastern, Southwestern and Central District ODP teams, and Semi-professional.

Her biggest focus and coaching style are developing complete goalkeepers. Mentally, physically, as leaders on and off the field, and game ready. Coach Amanda's mentors and former coaches include Jay Hoffman (former Boston Breakers Head Coach and US Women's National Team Coach), Steve O'neil (former Director of Goalkeeping for USL W-League Hampton Roads Piranhas and Va Rush Soccer Club, and Jon Busch (recently retired 21-year MLS Goalkeeper and US Men's National Team member).

Coach Amanda resides in Fredericksburg and Richmond, Va. She is passionate about leadership, mentorship, and developing the next generation of leaders in our sport and community. Her background is in business development, public speaking and coaching. She has been invited to come speak on mentorship, coaching and leadership in various settings with both the youth and adults.
Alice Funez

PT, Certified Strength & Conditioning COACH

Alice is known throughout the Richmond, VA youth strength and conditioning community. Currently she helps head up the Steward School Strength and Conditioning program as one of their coaches. Her specialties include ACL & injury prehab, progressive programing post PT rehab, strength and conditioning in speed, power, and healthy weight gain training.

She is a NASM certified personal trainer, a Mobility WOD Movement and Mobility Specialist, and is certified in Biomechanics and Human Movement, DBC Level 1.Alice is currently pursuing her doctorates in physical therapy. She is a huge asset and brings so much to our academy and gks. She will be leading the small group strength and conditioning sessions and is also available for private lessons with GKs, Field Players, and parents as well.

Alice resides in Richmond,Va with her husband and two sons. She loves family, fun, adventure and helping individuals achieve their personal and physical goals.
SAMANtha leshnak-Murphy

Co-head goalkeeping coach

Currently one of three pro NWSL Goalkeepers for the NC Courage, Coach Sam has had a spectacular career from early on. Sam's career began in her hometown of Liberty Township, Ohio where she played for the Ohio Elite Soccer Academy ECNL girls team. Sam has been apart of the US National Team cycle since age 13. Earning her first CAP with the U17 USWNT against the U18 German WNT.  After high school she continued her career at UNC Chapel Hill playing under legendary Head Coach, Anson Dorrance and Goalkeeping Coach, Chris Ducar.  Breaking records as UNC's starting GK, she is most remembered for not allowing a goal in 1,119 minutes and 23 seconds her senior year and  she was only the third Tar Heel goalkeeper in history to win a penalty kick shootout, joining U.S. National Team goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris against Virginia in 2007 ACC Tournament and Bryane Heaberlin against Baylor in 2012 NCAA Tournament. Her six saves versus UCLA in NCAA quarterfinals matched her career high in a game.

Sam has a heart and passion for the development of RGA's GKs that is unmatched. Her dedication to their development on the field and off is what makes her unique. We are honored to have her apart of our staff and leading camps, clinics, and virtual coaching sessions.
YULia Hayes

AssistanT Goalkeeping Coach

Yulia has been a stand-out goalkeeper and known by many as an incredible encourager, role model and friend in the Central Virginia Soccer community.

She has excelled academically and on the field. She finished out her senior year at Banner Christian and with the U19 Richmond Strikers Elite Team, VA Central District and State ODP. She committed and signed with the Citadel, Division 1 women's soccer program and is apart of their Class of 2023.

Yulia has been a Richmond Goalkeeping Academy GK Student for more than 5 years. Her knowledge and love for the game and next generation is something special and unique in itself. In addition to Coaching for RGA, she has returned to coach at Banner and other schools in Richmond as well.

We are privledged and honored to have her apart of the RGA Coaching Staff.

Our Lil' CEO

RGA's VOLUNTEER COACH (COACH AMANDA's NEPHEW)

NICOLE  Pacapelli

Assistant Technical Coach for Virginia
SocceR Academy and Strength Coach

Nicole recently transferred to Richmond after spending three years as the Head Coach of Queens College in NY. Orginially from New Haven, Ct, Coach Pac played most of her career at the University of New Haven where she was Second Team All-Northeast-10, NSCAA Third Team All-East and NEWISA All-New England honoree. She also played semi-professionally in her off season.

We welcome Coach Pac to RGA and VSA! We are thrilled to have her on board with us! She is an incredible leader and coach! She brings with her a wealth of knowledge and experience! Currently she is the Volunteer Assistant Coach at University of Richmond, ODP Region 1 Coach, Connecticut State ODP coach, FC Richmond Club coach and will be joining RGA and VSA as our Performance and Technical Field Coach.  She is available for booking for field players U13 & under in the area. In addition to strength training she will lead future small group and private 1 on 1 field player training for the Virginia Soccer Academy.
Marlana Barnard

Assistant Technical Coach for Virginia
Soccer Academy & Strength Coach

We welcomed Coach Marlana (aka Mars) to our RGA staff in June 2019. We are so excited to have her! She grew up in Northern Virginia starting her soccer career with the McLean Soccer Club and later transferred to the Bethesda Freedom ECNL team across the Potomac River with the Potomac Soccer Club. She led the team in scoring 4 out of 5 years as she was named to the Washington Freedom Super-Y Team, semi pro team.

She was a 4-year collegiate starter as a Forward at Roanoke College starting in 2012. By the end of her sophomore season, she registered 15 goals and 5 assists and led her team scoring. She has been honored as a Forward on the All-ODAC conference soccer team. She excelled in academics off the field and was named ODAC All-Academic Team all 4 years.

Today, Coach Mars is excited to offer her own experience for the benefit of the next generation. She specializes in coaching field players and strength and conditioning. She is available for booking for field players in the area. In addition to strength training she coaches small group field players and 1on1 private training.
Manny Tavares

Assistant Technical Coach for
Virginia Soccer Academy

Manny is the Director of Travel programs  and founder  of Mechanicsville United FC, Head Coach U18/19 Girls Travel Team, Hanover High School Varsity Soccer Coach, licensed USSF and former pro player with over 45   years experience in the USA and Portugal. Manny brings a large amount of skills learned from his days playing for former Olympic Coach Lindburgh Nunes and being chosen at a young age of 13 to play for the New Jersey select all-star team, to his summers spent in Portugal learning the European style of play at Clube ACA. Mechanicsville resident for over 21years, Manny has provided many youth in Richmond area an opportunity to enjoy the game of soccer , he has trained individually many players and has coached soccer teams in Mechanicsville and Hanover county for over 20 years. He is a well respected coach by many who have learned through his programs, and dedication to his community. When people speak of soccer in Mechanicsville many will say Manny has changed the way soccer is played through his devotion to the beautiful game. We are so grateful for the mentorship and friendship of Manny. He is a huge asset to the Richmond community and the RGA/VSA soccer family and extended field player family.
"Under Amanda's tutelage, my son progressed rapidly from academy GK to first string travel GK. His understanding of positioning and ability to read the intentions of players grew in ways that hard work alone could never have produced. Considering the cost of annual soccer dues, every hour with Amanda was a bargain."

- Philip Walker