ELON, N.C. – Elon University men’s soccer head coach Chris Little has resigned his position to take a new role with reigning MLS Cup champions Seattle Sounders FC, Elon Director of Athletics Dave Blank announced on Tuesday, Feb. 7. A national search for Little’s successor will begin immediately.
“Chris Little has been a tremendous leader, role model and mentor to our men’s soccer team during his time here at Elon. Chris has a personal goal of coaching at the professional level and I’m happy that he’s been given this opportunity,” Blank said. “Throughout his time here as both a head coach and assistant coach, Chris has helped our men’s soccer program reach great heights and he’s had an incredible impact on our student-athletes. Chris will be missed and we wish him and his family all the best.”
Little will serve as the Director of Coaching for the Seattle Sounders FC Academy with the goal to help develop and produce homegrown professional players.
“I would like to thank all the student-athletes, past and present, that I have had the pleasure and privilege of coaching. The commitment and sacrifice they have given have made my six years at Elon a fantastic experience and I have learned so much from them,” Little said. “I am so appreciative of the fantastic support from our alumni, student body and local community that have helped the program and players achieve a period of sustained success and share some great nights at Rudd Field!
I want to thank President Lambert, Dave Blank and Kyle Wills for the wonderful opportunity and support they gave me. It has been such a privilege to be part of the Elon family and I am going to miss all the great people that make Elon so special.”
In three seasons at Elon, Little guided the Phoenix to an overall record of 30-18-9 and an at-large appearance in the NCAA Tournament in 2015 when the maroon and gold earned a share of the CAA Regular Season title. Little led Elon to its first win in an NCAA Tournament match, as the Phoenix claimed a 3-0 victory over Winthrop at Rudd Field.
Little helped the Phoenix to 14 wins and its highest national ranking ever, No. 8, during the 2015 season. For his efforts, Little was selected as the NSCAA Midwest Region Coach of the Year and led the Phoenix to its highest finish ever in the final NCAA RPI report at No. 23.
In his first season at the helm of the Phoenix men’s soccer program, Little guided the maroon and gold to nine victories in its first season in the Colonial Athletic Association in 2014. Elon also earned its first-ever victory over in-state rival Duke and had six members of its program receive All-CAA accolades. Little’s team also was recognized as a NSCAA Academic Team for the eighth straight season.
This past season, Little helped the Phoenix finish with a 7-6-4 record, including wins over 22nd-ranked Charlotte and NC State. Elon finished with a 3-2-3 mark in CAA play, as eight players earned all-conference recognition, first-team All-CAA honoree Elijah Agu.
During his time at Elon as both head coach and as an assistant under former head coach Darren Powell, Little coached numerous Elon players that have played professionally, including Clint Irwin, Daniel Lovitz, Gabe Latigue, Chris Thomas, Sam McBride, Austin Dunker, Austen King, Nick Millington, and Miguel Salazar.
During his time at Elon as an assistant, Little helped the Phoenix to a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances in 2011 and 2012 after the team won back-to-back Southern Conference Tournament championships. The Phoenix also captured the league’s regular season title in 2012, finishing with a 15-5-2 mark. Elon’s 2012 team also captured a No. 16 national ranking that season. Little also mentored former Phoenix forward Chris Thomas, who led the nation in goals and points and was a semifinalist for the Hermann Trophy.
In 2012, Little was named the National Soccer Coaches Association of America’s Assistant Coach of the Year for the South Region and was a candidate for the Glenn “Mooch” Myernick National Assistant Coach of the Year Award.