URFC Latest News

URFC Unveils 2024 Coaching Staff 

2024_URFC_1920x1080_SingningsVanessa Mann_Assistant Coach

HERRIMAN, UTAH (March 13, 2024) - Utah Royals FC Sporting Director Kelly Cousins today unveiled the Club’s technical staff, under the direction of Head Coach Amy Rodriguez, ahead of the season opener on March 16. The Royals will see Rodriguez alongside assistant coaches Vanessa Mann and Frederic Brillant in addition to goalkeeper coach Maryse Bard-Martel (pending work authorization) as the Club opens the 2024 season against Chicago Red Stars.

“We are very excited to welcome Vanessa, Frederic and Maryse into our Club,” said Sporting Director Cousins.

“After an exhaustive search in conjunction with ownership, URFC Director of Talent, Strategy and Development, Mirelle van Rijbroek, Amy, and URFC Club President, Michelle Hyncik, we identified these coaches whom we believe will embody our collective goals and footballing philosophies as we re-enter the NWSL. Vanessa, Frederic and Maryse are all exceptional teachers who will not only challenge the players, but also challenge each other, and we expect that they will guide this group to success during the 2024 season.”


Vanessa Mann - Assistant Coach

Vanessa Mann arrives on the Wasatch Front ahead of the Royals’ inaugural season with a bevy of diverse experiences across the women’s soccer scene in the United States.

A native of New South Wales, Australia, Mann began her career as a player at the University of Nevada, Reno. She played as a midfielder for the Wolf Pack from 2007-2010, earning Academic All-WAC honors in 2008.

Following her career as a player, Mann found a home at her alma mater, serving on the Wolf Pack’s staff as an assistant tasked with day-to-day soccer operations and player development.

In addition to her responsibilities at Nevada, Mann made her entrance to the women’s club soccer scene in 2011. She became a founding member of the Legacy Football Club in Sparks, Nevada, serving as the club’s Director of Coaching from 2011 to 2015.

After a year on staff with Nevada, Mann made the jump to the BIG 12 Conference as an assistant with the Oklahoma Sooners in 2014, helping the Sooners to a 10-win season and a Big 12 Championship appearance.

Aside from her on-field coaching duties, Mann also held data analytic responsibilities with the team. She would only stay in Norman until 2015 though, when she jumped to the staff of the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA.

In just her first season in Williamsburg, Mann saw her Tribe squad return to national relevance and a return to the NCAA Women’s College Cup. In her second year, 2016, the squad won 10 matches en route to the school’s NCAA-record 36th consecutive winning season. Mann also helped propel nine of her players to earn 11 different individual CAA honors, including a Defensive Player of the Year accolade for future-NWSLer Caroline Casey. The Tribe would make the NCAA Tournament once again with Mann on staff before her eventual exit in 2018.

In January of 2018, Mann stepped into the role of Head Coach for the first time in her career, staying at the collegiate level with the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMBC), while also taking a step to the international level as a U.S. Youth National Team Scout.

Mann would serve as skipper at UMBC for five years, leading the team from 2018 to 2022 while she expanded her skillset and earned top-level coaching licenses, namely her USSF “A” License. In a notoriously tough conference with the Retrievers, Mann made steady progress and put together the best two years of her tenure in 2021 and 2022, earning a combined 10 wins across the final two years of her stay in Baltimore.

Further demonstrating her versatility across all levels of soccer, Mann then accepted a position as Technical Director with the Oregon Youth Soccer Association, staying for one year before returning to Nevada once again, this time with Reno MVLA Soccer Club as their Director of Coaching in October of 2023.

Now, Mann makes her journey to the Beehive state having accumulated a wealth of experience and knowledge at essentially every level and role in women’s soccer - with spells at the youth, collegiate, club and national team levels in positions ranging from Scout/Analyst to Head Coach/Director and everything in between.

“Amy’s playing experience, having first hand account of her evolution as a coach and her emotional intelligence are three key factors that drove me to say yes to this opportunity.”

“I am grateful to positively impact the lives of the players within our organization as we strive to win an NWSL Championship.”

Frederic Brillant - Assistant Coach

Frederic Brillant (BREE-yawnt), a name that will be familiar to fans of the MLS game, joins the Royals’ staff as an assistant coach following a long and successful career as a player, spending time with clubs in Europe and the US.

Prior to his retirement from play in January of 2022, Brillant made 290 league appearances at the senior level for five different clubs.

Immediately following his retirement, Brillant plunged head-first into the world of coaching, joining Loudoun United Football Club in Virginia as an Assistant Coach at the USL Championship level. Following a successful four-month foray into professional coaching at Loudoun, Brillant was tapped by the club’s senior affiliate and MLS side, D.C. United, to join as an Assistant Coach.

In his time at D.C. spanning from April of 2022 to December of 2023, Brillant first honed his skills working under Head Coach Chad Aston with duties including set-piece design, video analysis, training strategy and execution, scouting/recruiting and other key responsibilities.

Then, following the departure of Aston just four months after Brillant’s appointment to the staff, world soccer legend and former teammate of Brillant’s, Wayne Rooney, was appointed as Manager and would serve as boss through the end of the 2023 MLS campaign.

Despite his recent entrance into the world of coaching, Brillant understood this was his next step and did the work necessary to climb the ranks rapidly. During his playing career with D.C. United, Brillant completed his National C Coaching License certification in January 2021 and went on to claim his National B Coaching License through the United States Soccer Federations (USSF) in December 2021.

Born in Sedan, France and enveloped in soccer culture from a young age, Brillant was destined for a career in and around the game. As a player, Brillant began his professional career in Belgium, developing in the lower leagues of the Belgian system before moving to the second tier of the nation’s league system with Oostende in 2011. After just one season in the second tier, Brillant would make a move to the first tier with Beerschot in 2012 before returning to his beloved Oostende in 2013 when they were also promoted to the top tier of Belgium. Playing in the world-renowned Belgian Pro League against massive clubs like Club Brugge, RSC Anderlecht, Standard Liege and Gent. Accumulating four solid seasons in the Pro League with 96 league appearances capped by an inspiring fourth place finish in 2016, Brillant did enough to provoke the interest of American clubs.

New York City FC came calling in May of 2016 and Brillant answered, jumping the pond to experience his first taste of what the American game had to offer. He quickly established himself as a pillar of the NYCFC backline that season, starting 31 of 34 regular season games for the Sky Blues in 2016 en route to achieving the franchise’s first-ever MLS Cup Playoff appearance. In two years, he would make 59 first-team appearances for the Bronx Blues across all competitions before being released at the conclusion of the 2017 season.

D.C. United then leapt at the opportunity to scoop up the Frenchman and it was there, in The District, that Brillant would find his groove. He made 86 appearances for D.C. across three seasons, highlighted by a stretch in 2019 that saw Brillant named to the Team of the Week for an astounding three consecutive cycles.

He would be released following the 2021 season and decided to hang up his boots in January of 2022, putting an end to a playing career that saw him lace it up more than 300 times for five clubs on two continents.

“I’m Frederic Brillant. I'm from France originally. I came here to the US eight years ago as a former player, I played for NYCFC for two years and DC United for four years. I became an assistant coach for D.C, after that.”

“Amy and Kelly showed me the project and everything we needed to do here is a new start, fresh start for the team and I was very interested with the project and all the good things we can do here.”

“In the beginning it was not something I planned to do. When I became available in the market and received a lot of calls from women’s teams. I thought about it deeper and when Amy and Kelly talked to me about the project I thought maybe it was the right call, my destiny. Now I am very pleased to be here around the girls and all of the players and staff. I cannot wait to start the first game to see the fans and everything that will bring the team to where we are now.”

Maryse Bard-Martel - Goalkeeping Coach

Maryse Bard-Martel, a native of Quebec, Canada, joins the Royals’ staff as a goalkeeping coach with years of experience at the top levels of youth and collegiate soccer in addition to a record-breaking career in net as a player for the University of Memphis.

As a player, Bard-Martel served as the final line of defense for the Tigers from 2013 to 2016 before leaving campus with her name dotted throughout the schools’ record books. A four-year letter winner, Bard-Martel ranks first in program history for goalkeeper minutes played (7,259) and holds the freshman records for saves, shutouts and minutes played.

Aside from her time in Memphis, Bard-Martel circulated the international stage for Canada. She was just 15 at the time of her debut in the Canadian youth program and went on to be a part of the Canadian National Team at the 2012 U-17 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Azerbaijan.

Following her career on the pitch, Bard-Martel broke into the collegiate coaching ranks as a Graduate Assistant and Goalkeepers Coach for Missouri State University’s women’s soccer team in 2017 and 2018. She found success with the Bears, helping the team to a Missouri Valley Conference title and the program’s second-ever NCAA Tournament appearance in her first season. As MSU’s Goalkeeping Coach, Bard-Martel takes pride in the work she did with Kaitlyn Maxwell that aided in her claiming the 2018 MVC Women’s Soccer Goalkeeper of the Year award.

Her next stop following MSU would see Bard-Martel temporarily exit the collegiate scene in favor of a position with world-renowned development and youth sports organization IMG Academy in Florida.

Here she would serve as an Assistant Girls Coach for one year before returning to the world of college soccer with the University of Oklahoma as an Assistant Coach working with goalkeepers ahead of the 2020-2021 season. Working with the ‘keepers and carving a role as a set-piece specialist, Bard-Martel served on the Sooners’ staff for three seasons.

In addition to her work with OU, Bard-Martel made her coaching debut on the international stage as Goalkeeper Coach and Set-Play Specialist for the Canadian Soccer Association's U-20 National Team in 2022.

From here, she made a move to the University Connecticut staff as an Assistant Coach in February of 2023, working with the Huskies for one season. She holds a United States Soccer Federation "C" national coaching license, U.S. Soccer Grassroots 11v11 and 7v7 licenses and is a certified strength and conditioning specialist by the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

“My name is Maryse, I like when people call me Reese. I am from Montreal, Canada and most recently was coaching at the University of Connecticut but I have been with the Canadian National team for the past 3 years, and I work mainly with the U20’s.”

“I connected very well with Amy. I think I really aligned with her vision for what Utah Royals can be. It's exciting to be a part of a new franchise or a franchise that previously had success but it’s a new chapter. I think being able to build something from the ground up and help Amy and the rest of the staff do that is such a unique opportunity. I think our desire to do that well and win was very exciting.”

“Our goalkeepers are going to be really involved in the build up in possession. They are going to have the skills necessary to play short, to play midrange balls, to play balls that go beyond the opponent. It’s all going to be about what is the most effective pass to help our team play forward and expecting them to make big saves and be impactful on both sides of the ball.”