Coach Amanda headshot

Founder and director of Goalkeeping

Building Goalkeeping Excellence and Cultivating Champions On and Off the Field

Driven by a passion for soccer and giving back to the community, Coach Amanda leverages over 30 years of experience to cultivate exceptional goalkeepers. Her athletic journey began at Virginia Rush Travel Soccer Club, culminating in a decorated career. She competed at the USL Super Youth League level with the Hampton Roads Piranhas, where she helped lead her team to the 2003 USL Super Y National Finals in Chicago, IL, later concluding her playing career competing at NCAA Division III level at Ferrum College.

Transitioning to coaching in 2004, Coach Amanda quickly established herself as a leader. At the remarkable age of 17, she was voted in by a Board of Directors at Old Dominion Travel Soccer club and became the youngest Director of Goalkeeping. Since then, her dedication has impacted countless goalkeepers through programs like the Roanoke Stars Soccer Club, Richmond Kickers, FC Richmond, Skyline Elite Soccer Club, SOCA, and her own Richmond Goalkeeping Academy (founded in 2008).

Coach Amanda's philosophy centers on holistic development, fostering well-rounded goalkeepers who excel mentally, physically, and as leaders. Her success is evident in the numerous athletes she's propelled to the NCAA DI, DII, DIII, NAIA, and JUCO collegiate levels, professional leagues, and beyond.

A testament to her expertise, Coach Amanda boasts a distinguished coaching career. Currently, she inspires the next generation of professional goalkeepers with the USL W-League Richmond Ivy and remains RGA's Full-time Director of Goalkeeping. Previously, she served as Goalkeeping Coach and Assistant Coach at Marymount University (Women's & Men's Soccer) and Longwood University Men's Soccer (NCAA DI Big South) - becoming the third woman in NCAA D1 history to coach men's goalkeepers. She has also held esteemed positions with the Virginia Olympic Development Program, Skyline Elite Girls Academy and ECNL Boys, and Richmond Kickers Youth Soccer Club.

Coach Amanda's influence extends beyond the field. A sought - after speaker, Coach Amanda ignites a passion for mentorship, coaching, and leadership in both aspiring athletes and established professionals. This dedication to community is further exemplified by her leadership of the Richmond Goalkeeping Academy's Annual Keeper Wars Charity Tournament.

This Charity Tournament, held in December of each year, raises vital funds that are donated each year to several worthy causes:

- Multiple local sports based and community non-profits

- The purchase of Christmas and Holiday gifts for children that have to spend Christmas at our local Pediatric Hospitals at St. Mary's and Chippenham Hospital

-The Nate Forester Legacy Scholarship, which honors Coach Amanda's late brother. This scholarship is awarded to a soccer player who experiences the sudden loss of a parent or primary caregiver, this scholarship covers up to one year of soccer dues, easing the financial burden during a difficult time.

Residing in Richmond, VA, Coach Amanda remains deeply committed to fostering the next generation of leaders in sport and community. Her combined expertise in business development, public speaking, and coaching empowers her to make a lasting impact.

Certifications Include: Welsh FA Level 1 Licenses, Scottish FA Level 1 Licenses, UEFA Grassroots Leader Award, PFSA Level 1 Certifications, US Soccer D License, United Soccer Coaches Goalkeeping Diplomas, CPR/First Aid/AED and Safesport Certified
SAMANtha leshnak Murphy

RGA Assistant Director of GoalkeepinG

Coach Sam's impressive soccer journey began in Liberty Township, Ohio, where she honed her skills with the Ohio Elite Soccer Academy ECNL. Recognized for her talent at a young age, she entered the US National Team cycle at just 13 years old.

Following a collegiate career that flourished at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill under legendary coaches Anson Dorrance and Chris Ducar, Sam etched her name in UNC History. During her senior year, she secured a record breaking shutout streak lasting 1,119 minutes and 23 seconds. Additionally, she became only the third Tar Heel goalkeeper to win a penalty kick shootout, joining the ranks of fellow UNC Alumni and USWNT member Ashlyn Harris.

After a successful collegiate career, Sam transitioned seamlessly into professional soccer. Signed by the NWSL NC Courage in 2019, she contributed to their victories in both the 2019 NWSL Shield and Championship. Her talent continued to shine in Iceland's Women's Professional Soccer League with Keflavik, where she quickly ranked among the top 5 goalkeepers after making 18 appearances.

In 2023, Sam took another step forward in her career, joining Piteå IF in Sweden's top-tier Damallsvenskan league. Signed to replace departing goalkeeper Mandy Haught, Sam made an immediate impact with 23 starts and helped lead her team to victory in the 2024 Swedish Cup Finals.

Today, Coach Sam translates her passion for the sport into coaching. A cornerstone of RGA's goalkeeping development program, she leverages her extensive playing experience and coaching knowledge to empower athletes. Renowned for her dedication and holistic approach, Coach Sam fosters the growth of goalkeepers both on and off the field. Coach Sam mentors many of our goalkeepers virtually and coaches at RGA in her pro off season.

Certifications: Safesport Certified

Mario Sequeira Quesada

Lead Goalkeeping Coach

Coach Mario brings a wealth of experience and passion for goalkeeping to RGA. Since joining us as a Graduate Assistant Goalkeeping Coach Intern in 2020, he has played a key role in developing our goalkeepers both on and off the field. Many of his trainees have successfully excelled to levels in the game.

Prior to his coaching career, Mario enjoyed a distinguished playing career. He rose through the ranks of Deportivo Saprissa's youth academy starting at the age of 9. Playing for every age group, he eventually became the starting goalkeeper and captain of Saprissa's second team. His dedication culminated in a professional debut with the first team in 2016.

Mario's international experience includes competing in the U-20 CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers and representing Costa Rica's U-20 National Team at the 2017 U-20 FIFA World Cup in South Korea.

Complementing his playing experience, Mario graduated from VCU's Sports Leadership Program with a Master's degree in Sports Leadership in December 2021.

Coach Mario has continued to follow his passion in coaching and leadership. The combination of his on-field expertise and academic knowledge allows him to effectively guide RGA's goalkeepers towards achieving their full potential. We are very grateful to have Coach Mario apart of our coaching staff.

Certifications: US Soccer D License, United Soccer Coaches GK Diplomas, SafeSport Certified
Melissa Lowder

Virtual Goalkeeping Coach Mentor

Melissa began her elite soccer journey while playing club soccer for the Del Mar Sharks in San Diego, CA. Melissa and her team won back to back National Championships in 2012 and 2013, and almost won a third in 2014. During this time, she was selected for ODP, Regional, and Youth National Teams. After graduating high school in 2015, Melissa earned a scholarship to play Division I soccer for Santa Clara University. She started her sophomore year and played through her senior year, in addition to being elected team captain in her junior and senior year. During Melissa's sophomore year, Santa Clara reached the Elite 8 in the NCAA College Cup, beating Number 2 ranked Stanford and breaking their 29-game winning streak at home. Melissa broke a university record for the women’s soccer team with 13 saves in a single playoff game. After 4 years at Santa Clara, she graduated a quarter early and left to play for the Utah Royals in the NWSL. In Spring 2019, Melissa signed her first professional contract and made her professional debut in the fall of 2020. Currently she is in her third professional season playing for the Chicago Red Stars.

We are so excited to have Melissa join the RGA team. Melissa will be in charge of the development and curriculum for our classroom sessions and working alongside our goalkeeping directors helping with the development of our ongoing training curriculum and programming.

Safesport Certified,  Certified Personal Trainer, Strength and Conditioning Coach, and Sports Nutritionist
Jon Busch

RGA Staff advisor and mentor

Jon Busch brings over two decades of experience as a professional goalkeeper coach to RGA. Throughout his 21-year playing career in Major League Soccer, Busch excelled for teams like Columbus Crew, Chicago Fire, and the San Jose Earthquakes. Notably, he was awarded MLS Goalkeeper of the Year in 2008, a testament to his exceptional talent. Busch also represented the United States at various youth levels, including a shutout performance for the senior team in 2005.

Since retiring from the MLS in 2018, Busch has leveraged his extensive playing experience and transitioned to coaching. He currently serves as the Goalkeeping Coach and Assistant Coach for the Pittsburgh Riverhounds, a Professional Soccer team in the USL Championship League. Previously, Busch sharpened his Professional Coaching career serving as the goalkeeping coach for Hibernian FC (Scottish Premiership League) and various collegiate programs and local soccer clubs.

For the past six years, Jon has been a constant advisor and mentor our RGA Staff and goalkeepers, providing virtual and in-person training for our goalkeepers. He focuses on technical, mental, and tactical development, helping them reach their full potential. RGA is thrilled to have Jon lead virtual trainings, camps, and guide our goalkeepers and staff towards excellence.

Certifications: Scottish FA Goalkeeping License and Safesport Certified
Laney Placido

AssistanT Business manager

Laney currently plays soccer for an NCAA Division 3 school where she plays as a midfielder.She is currently pursuing a Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice. Laney has previously completed her internship with RGA and has worked at numerous summer camps and clinics as an assistant coach with our Junior Goalkeepers. Outside of School, Playing and RGA, Laney also coaches a JV Boy Soccer Team at Yorktown High School in Arlington, VA.

We are excited to have Laney join our staff. She has been very diligent throughout her prior internship with RGA. She has served our goalkeepers, parents, volunteers and staff through numerous events and always goes the extra mile! Laney is in charge of a lot of the behind the scenes administrative work at RGA and oversees our Current Interns.

Certifications: CPR and Safesport Certified

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.
"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
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