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SP Coaches



Deno Ellis played competitive soccer at the Junior and Secondary School National Level in his native Jamaica’s Dacosta Cup and Oliver Shield League Competitions. In 1997 his team was undefeated and won the National Oliver Shields Boys Competition. He migrated to the US on scholarship in 2000, and played on competitive men’s college club teams and the Caribbean Soccer Premier League club teams in Atlanta, GA alongside other national and internationally-ranked Jamaican/Caribbean “footballers”. Deno still occasionally plays for fun on premier and recreational league teams around Columbus and enjoys a good ‘pick up’ game.

Deno landed in the Columbus area in 2009 and put his Youth Soccer Coaching Certification to good use in the NAYSL Recreational League for two and a half years successfully coaching U-11 teams in both indoor and outdoor soccer. He is now a Nationally Certified Coach by the NSCAA (National Soccer Coaches Association of America) and has been coaching with SP Soccer Academy since fall of 2011 (?). He is a professor of Industrial Design at the Columbus College of Art and Design (CCAD) and really enjoys serving as a creative educator and mentor to his students and advancing his professional expertise. For fun, you may find Deno cycling, playing basketball or table tennis, participating in Japanese martial arts like Seido Karate or spinning tunes as a DJ. (He loves music!)Deno lives in North Columbus with his wonderful wife Ellen, beautiful baby girl Savannah and little puppy Baxter. With no other family in town, Deno thinks SP’s family atmosphere is great and it makes coaching more enjoyable and satisfying.

Deno would love to travel to Japan someday—and go back to Jamaica at Easter for traditional Easter food, bun and cheese. He says his moms is the best! 


Steve Ulry has played soccer since childhood. He played for his high school and a club team while a student at the College of Charleston, but then began coaching and continued on that path. He holds his USSF (US Soccer Federation) License and has coached select club teams and high school boys’ teams in South Carolina, was an assistant at Otterbein University, Club WASA Ambassador, high school girls soccer, and now at SP Soccer Academy (since winter 2013-2014). 

Steve says he is really excited about coaching with SP.  The philosophy is what brought him to the club: player development in a small, "family" style environment.

A history teacher for 21 years, Steve still cannot believe he has a job that allows me to discuss history all day to wonderful students. His favorite thing about teaching is when a student finds a part of history exciting!

Steve is married to Eileen Anne and is a collector of books. “If I had an hour, I would spend it reading a book.  I keep buying books, and have two bookcases of them to read, but never have the time to read any of them!”

He grew up in Westerville watching Bayern München FC with his family. His childhood soccer heroes were Franz Beckenbauer, Paul Breitner and Lothar Matthäus


Christian Elliott joined SP Soccer Academy for the 2014-2015 seasons and holds classes F and E coaching licenses. He has experience coaching youth club and recreational teams as well as summer camp coaching since 1991.

Christian grew up playing soccer, including being a 4-year varsity starter in high school and 4-year starter at Denison University, where he also was named All-League and All-Region. He continues to play with Columbus United in the Columbus Premier League and on coed rec teams with his wife Emily, who also coaches.

An entrepreneur who is an owner or partner in environmental and real estate companies, Christian says he loves Gino's approach to training, the amazing group of kids at SP Soccer Academy, and how they support each other throughout the teams /age divisions. He also appreciates the great group of coaches he gets to learn from.

He and Emily have three children, Sydney, Morgan (who plays at SP), and Mia. The whole family enjoys playing team and individual sports and participating in recreational activities, though Christian says he can’t get enough of watching tv when it means watching Manchester City play! 



John Clay holds a Class E coaching license and has coached for nine years, joining SP Soccer Academy in Fall 2015. As a chemical engineer who teaches at The Ohio State University and is a Research Leader at Battelle Memorial Institute, John enjoys helping people solve tough technical challenges and teaching students how to be better problem solvers.

At SP, John enjoys the camaraderie. “Gino has instilled a culture where everyone, from the academy director to coaches to support staff to volunteers to parents are focused on the kids and helping them improve,” he says.

An Ohio native, John follows OSU football and he loves to watch great soccer, no matter the teams (though he may be partial to the Premier League’s Liverpool and West Ham United). He has been a recreational soccer player for more than 20 years, is an active runner, and is always more than willing to play just about any sport, including football and basketball.

John and his wife Kristy have three children, Meredith (11), Luke (14), and Natalie (14). Both girls play at SP Soccer Academy.  


 Kevin Headly has been a Columbus resident for the last ten years, and a member of the SP Soccer Academy coaching staff since the 2014-2015 season. He began playing soccer at the age of 7 in his native Guyana and has had the joy of playing all over the world including the US, England as well as throughout Latin America, and the Caribbean. Kevin moved to the United States with his family at the age of 12 and attended high school in Silver Spring Maryland. He is a graduate of Bucknell University where he was also a member of the wrestling program and is an avid supporter of Arsenal Football Club.

A former Guyanese international, Kevin grew up admiring Brazilian legend Pele and dreaming of playing in the World Cup. His playing days now long behind him, Kevin’s present focus is sharing his immense passion for the beautiful game with the kids he coaches. He holds coaching licenses from both the NSCAA and the US Soccer Federation and hopes to continue his coaching education in Europe at some point in the future.


Michelle Weingarth
 joined SP Soccer Academy in the spring, 2016 and coaches U14/15 girls.  She holds a US F-license. Soccer is her favorite sport and she has played for Zanesville Arsenal SC, West Muskingum High School, and Otterbein College. She continues to play in coed adult leagues year-round and enjoys watching the USMNT and USWNT live and on tv. Michelle appreciates the family atmosphere of SP, the dedication the coaches have to the kids, and their willingness to help.

By day, Michelle is a financial manager for the Educational Service Council of Central Ohio and she would like to someday be the treasurer of a school district. In her free time, Michelle enjoys watching her favorite shows on Netflix, drawing or painting. She hopes to visit all 50 states, but given an all-expense-paid trip, Michelle would head straight to Europe!


 Miguel Limon joined SP Soccer Academy in 2017 and holds a Class E Coaching license with the USSF and a coaching license with United Soccer Coaches Association.  Miguel began playing soccer at an early age. When he was 14 he was offered a position in the Club America U15 Academy and played until he was 17 at which point he was selected to play for the Club American reserves.

As a Contracting Officer for the Defense Logistics Agency Miguel enjoys being able to support our Armed Forces and provide support to our troops.

Miguel loves the atmosphere at SP Soccer. The coaches are there for each other and are willing to help one another.  He also likes that they don't stress winning. but helping players truly Become Better.

MIguel and his wife Cathy have 3 children Marie, Cruz, and Cali. Cruz plays at SP Soccer Academy. He would also love to attend a World Cup someday with his son.


Matt Malo joined our SP family in 2017.  He played high school soccer at Gahanna Lincoln High School and was a 4-letter varsity player.  Matt also played at the University of Cincinnati.

Matt holds an E license and is certified in CPR.  He has 40 plus years of playing experience including Division 1 Collegiate level.  When not playing soccer, Matt likes to golf and being outside doing something active.

He works at Nationwide and helps American workers prepare for and live in retirement.

One of the things Matt likes about SP is the collaboration between all the coaches.  He also loves working with the kids.

He grew up in Gahanna and loves the Columbus Crew.  He has been married for 20 years with a son who is a junior and a daughter who is entering her Freshman year in New Albany.  Both of Matt's kids play for SP.

Matt would like to go overseas and see England, Argentina, Spain or Brazil compete in a futbol match.

His favorite holiday is Halloween because the weather is usually nice in Columbus and he enjoys seeing all the youngsters dressed up in their costumes.


John Lazcano started playing soccer at the age of 8.  He played rec until he came to SP and played until he went off to college.  He was also part of the Dublin Scioto High School soccer program where he lettered and earned multiple individual awards all four years. John has also worked with numerous college coaches.

John was born and raised in Dublin, Ohio, and has a Mexican background.  He is currently a college student majoring in Marketing.

His favorite professional soccer teams are United States Men’s National Team, Real Madrid, Chelsea, Pachuca, and Columbus Crew.  John also likes College Football, UFC, and boxing.

John has been wanting to attend a World Cup for as long as he can remember! The World Cup has always been one of his biggest inspirations since he was young due to many reasons, but most importantly being able to see how an event can bring the world together for a month! Attending a World Cup would be a dream come true.


Mario Caravetta played travel soccer growing up with two separate trips to play on a team that represented Canada in a tournament in England.  He was a four-year starter for Trinity Western University in the U SPORTS league.

Mario was drawn to coaching early in life and began assisting with soccer schools at age 12 before launching his own company at age 14.  He owned and operated X-Cel Soccer for 8 years, helping teach soccer fundamentals to hundreds of kids. In college, he completed his NCCP training for soccer coaching in Canada (a “C” license equivalent in the USA)

In his spare time, Mario enjoys extreme endurance running – covering distances greater than a marathon.

Mario works at Abercrombie & Fitch where he heads up the internet sales team.  He loves the challenges of retail where things are fast-paced and always changing.

Mario thinks the culture at SP is amazing.  It is a family atmosphere and has attracted great coaches and players who are even better human beings.

Mario grew up just outside of Vancouver, Canada.  He met his wife on the soccer field and fell in love with her faster than he did with soccer.  Mario has 3 children and he has had the privilege of coaching all of them at some point in their soccer journey.  His family loves to play and watch soccer together.

Mario’s favorite holiday is Christmas where he can get together with family and friends.


Tim Westley played high school soccer and Amateur/Club in College.  He has 12 years of experience coaching and has a D license.

Tim is a construction manager and builds hotels and apartment buildings.  He loves the problem-solving that is required every day on the job. He loves being able to be behind a desk sometimes, but on a job site. 

Tim’s favorite soccer team is Manchester United F.C. and he also likes American Football.

Tim grew up in Miami, Florida.  He has been married for 23 years to his wife Rachel.  They were 21 when they got married.  They have 2 kids, Cate, 15 who plays for the SP U17/18 Girls Elite Team and Calvin, 5 plays soccer for a local recreation league.

If Tim could take an all-expense-paid trip to anywhere in the world it would be Norway where his ancestors are from.

His favorite holiday is Thanksgiving because he loves to cook.


Aidan Tansey has played soccer since he was 4 years old.  He has always played goalie including 4 years at the high school level and 2 years with SP.  He has helped coach several club teams and this is his 2nd year with SP.  He is currently Grassroots Licensed for 11V11 and 9V9 and is currently working on his 7V7 license.

Aidan was on the Annehurst Piranhas Swim Team for 11 years and swam at the high school level for 4 years.  His favorite events were backstroke and the 500 Freestyle.

He is a student at Otterbein University and studying Zoo and Conservation Science which is another passion outside of Soccer.

Aidan has played for a few club teams and states no other club compares to the atmosphere of SP.  All players are welcomed and challenged to improve themselves.

Aidan lives in a quad with four of his best friends at Otterbein.  His family also lives in town, so he gets to see his parents, little brother, 2 cats, and 2 dogs as often as he wants.

Aidan enjoys traveling and would love to do it more often.  His favorite place in the world to see would be Ireland.  He also enjoys the winter holidays because his extended family gets together, and he gets to see the family he may not have seen all year.


Mario Suarez played soccer for Cleveland Futbol Club at the state, regional and national level and won the state cup 6 times and regionals once. He played high school soccer for Strongsville High School, winning multiple conferences, district regionals and making it to state semis a few times. Mario has also played at the collegiate level for Capital University earning All-OAC and being a part of the team to set the best conference record for Capital University Soccer. He has an E license in coaching and coached in Cleveland for Cleveland Force Soccer Club working with boys and girls ages 8-14.

The Director of Sports Performance at Redline Athletics, Mario works will athletes of all ages and sports ranging from 8-18, college and professional players. He loves that he can help athletes learn how to become better at their sport through systems and methods of training that help athletes be the best they can be.

Mario has been with SP for less than a year. He loves the ability to communicate with all the coaches and how involved each coach is with their team. 

Mario was born in New York, lived in California, and has resided in Ohio for the past 15 years.  He is part of a small family, has his mom, dad, brother, and now a sister-in-law and a new niece. Mario has an Aunt and two cousins that live in California. His grandparents and the majority of his mom’s family still live in Ecuador.

Halloween is Mario’s favorite holiday.  He loves getting scared and scaring people.  It gets the adrenaline going!




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