Technical Staff

Ernst Tanner - Sporting Director

Ernst Tanner officially became the Union's second-ever Sporting Director in October of 2018. Tanner is a native of Traunstein, Germany and comes to Philadelphia following 24 years of previous technical experience with three European clubs: TSV 1860 Munich, TSG 1899 Hoffenheim and Red Bull Salzburg. As the Union’s Sporting Director, Tanner oversees and guides all Union technical and soccer-related decisions, working closely with the Union First Team, Bethlehem Steel FC and the Union Academy.

Tanner is well respected in the sport for his development, methodology, scouting and talent identification expertise, having played a key role in the discovery and/or development of some of the top professional talent playing in Europe today, including: Roberto Firmino, Kevin Volland, Sven Bender, Lars Bender, Niklas Süle, Sebastian Rudy, David Alaba, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Duje Caleta-Car and Sadio Mane. His background includes time with the progressive Bundesliga club TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, known as one of the best academies in Germany, and more recently over the past six years, the oversight of the highly successful and innovative Red Bull Salzburg academy, which captured the prestigious UEFA Youth League championship in 2016-17.

Tanner most recently worked as the Academy and Youth Football Head at RB Salzburg in the Austrian Bundesliga, a position he held from 2012-18. Over his six seasons with Salzburg, the club’s First Team won the Austrian Bundesliga five times, in each of the last five years, finishing as runners-up in his first season (2012-13). 

Jim Curtin - Head Coach

Philadelphia Union Head Coach Jim Curtin joined the Union's first team on November 29, 2012, after serving nearly two years an assistant coach with the senior squad before being named head coach in November 2014.

A native of Oreland, PA, Curtin joined the Union staff at the academy ranks in June 2010 after joining YSC Sports in Wayne as the director of curriculum development. Additionally, Curtin was the Union’s Under-18 Academy head coach and was instrumental in the U-18s capturing the 2012 Generation Adidas Cup.

Curtin attended Villanova University, where he was named Big East Rookie of the Year in 1997 and a three-time team MVP for the Wildcats. The All-American defender was a two time first team All-Big East selection in 1999 and 2000 and was the 2001 Philadelphia Soccer Seven Player of the Year. He became the first player from Villanova to be drafted into the MLS when selected by the Chicago Fire in 2001.

The 2004 MLS All-Star played more than 150 games for the Fire as was named Chicago’s defender of the year in 2004 before finishing his final two seasons in the league with Chivas USA in 2008 and 2009.

Philadelphia Union named Curtin as the Head Coach on November 7, 2014 after he took over as interim team manager on June 10, 2014. Curtin quickly made his mark on the first team as interim manager, leading the Union to its first U.S. Open Cup Final in franchise history. Philadelphia lost to eventual Supporters’ Shield winners Seattle Sounders in extra time, 3-1, in the 2014 championship. Philadelphia finished with a 5-1-4 record at Talen Energy Stadium after Curtin took over managerial duties for the Union. 

In 2015, Curtin led the Union to the U.S. Open Cup Final for the second consecutive year where they faced Sporting Kansas City at Talen Energy Stadium on Sept. 30. After 90 minutes of regular time and thirty minutes of extra time, the Union fell to Sporting KC in the eighth round of penalty kicks.

In the 2016 campaign, Curtin led Philadelphia to their second postseason appearance in club history. In 2018, Curtin again led the Union to the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final, while also clinching an MLS Cup Playoffs berth for the third time in team history as well as the second time in two seasons. During the 2018 campaign, the Union reached 50 points for the first time in team history. The club also set a new record for most road wins in a season.

Curtin is a Philly native and resides in downtown Philadelphia with his wife Jen and three kids Ryan, Avery, and Miles. 

Chris Albright - Technical Director

Chris Albright's role with the Union directly involves player management and movement. After joining the Union technical corps on January 14, 2014, Albright has played a vital role in the team's scouting department.

Albright was instrumental in bringing players to Philadelphia as the club reached the postseason for the second time in club history. Albright led the charge in acquiring midfielder Chris Pontius from D.C. United. Pontius led the club in goals in his first season with the Union and was tied for the most goals scored by an American player in MLS in 2016. Pontius was also voted the 2016 MLS Comeback Player of the Year.

Albright enjoyed an illustrious professional career that found him play for five MLS clubs and appear in 235 matches with career totals of 11 goals and 22 assists. The three-time MLS All-Star defender won MLS Cups with D.C. United in 1999 and with the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2002 and 2005. Albright also earned 22 caps with the U.S. Men’s National Team and was a member of the 2006 FIFA World Cup team in Germany.

A Philadelphia native, Albright ended his career where it began and now resides in suburban Philadelphia with his wife Leah, and his three children, Liam, Wyatt and Ava.

Oka Nikolov - Assistant Coach

Oka Nikolov returned to Philadelphia for his second stint as an assistant coach with the club ahead of the 2019 season. Serving in a dual role as a full assistant coach as well as Director of Goalkeeping, Nikolov, a German-born Macedonian, previously served as a Union assistant for two seasons, in 2016 and 2017. He played for the Union as a goalkeeper in 2013, and spent the 2018 campaign as an assistant coach for the LA Galaxy.

While with the Union previously, Nikolov helped Andre Blake develop into a preeminent goalkeeper, capturing the 2016 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Award as well as a Best XI campaign that same season. 

As a player, Nikolov spent the bulk of his career at German club Eintracht Frankfurt, including 19 seasons with the senior team, where he appeared in over 370 games. Nikolov was a member of the Union as a player in 2013 before joining the Fort Lauderdale Strikers one season later. Internationally, he appeared in five games for Macedonia, the country of his heritage. In addition to the LA Galaxy, he has also coached at Eintracht as well as the Macedonian National Team and the German Under-19 National Team.

Pat Noonan - Assistant Coach

Pat Noonan joined the Union's coaching staff prior to the 2018 season as an Assistant Coach. Born in Ballwin, Missouri, Noonan comes to Philadelphia following a 10-year professional playing career that began in 2003 when he was drafted ninth overall by the New England Revolution. After playing five seasons for the Revs, which included an MLS All-Star nod in 2004 as well as a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup victory in 2007, he moved to Europe, signing with Norwegian club Aalesunds FK. He came back to MLS later that year, joining Columbus midway through the 2008 campaign. He would go on to help the side complete a domestic double, winning MLS Cup and the Supporters’ Shield that year.

He later played for Colorado, Seattle and the LA Galaxy, winning the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup twice with Sounders FC (2010, 2011) as well as another MLS Cup in 2012, with the Galaxy. Prior to the 2013 season, he retired as a player and joined the Galaxy’s coaching staff under Bruce Arena, where he would help the team win another MLS Cup, in 2014. He left the Galaxy to work under Arena as an assistant with the USMNT in 2017, his last coaching job before joining Philadelphia.

Internationally, Noonan has earned 14 caps for the USMNT, scoring one goal. He was a part of the CONCACAF Gold Cup winning side in 2005. While a member of Seattle Sounders FC, he scored the first-ever goal at Talen Energy Stadium, on June 27, 2010. Recently, he also earned his U.S. Soccer Pro License a member of the second-ever cohort to complete the course. He joins Jim Curtin as a holder of that certification, with the Union head coach having completed the course a year earlier in 2016.

Phil Wheddon - Director of Goalkeeping

Wheddon joins the Union's coaching staff after spending last season as the goalkeeper coach for Philadelphia Union II. Before joining the organization, he spent 11 years as the Women’s Head Coach at Syracuse University.

Having worked in Major League Soccer and the Women’s United Soccer Association, Wheddon is the only goalkeeper coach in history to have coached for both the U.S. Men’s and Women’s National Teams in a FIFA World Cup. In his career, he coached in three World Cups as well as bringing home two Olympic gold medals. 

Wheddon has been instrumental in goalkeeping education throughout the country for the past decade and is a U.S. Soccer Instructor, currently instructing the U.S. Soccer Goalkeeper A License course. A highly respected and sought after coach and educator, he was involved in training some of the nation’s top goalkeepers including Tim Howard, Kasey Keller, Hope Solo and Brianna Scurry. Wheddon also serves as the director of the International Goalkeeper Coaches Conference held annually at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.

Paul Rushing - Head Athletic Trainer

Rushing is in his ninth year as Head Athletic Trainer for the Philadelphia Union. Prior to that, Paul was the Head ATC for the Men’s U-17 US Soccer Residency Program in Bradenton, Fla., where he served from 2005 to 2010. Prior to working with the Residency Program, he worked at IMG Soccer Academy from 2002 to 2005. From 2001 to 2002 he was employed by St Anthony’s Hospital as a staff athletic trainer.

Paul received his Bachelor’s degree in Athletic Training from Western Illinois University in 2001. Prior to college, Paul was enlisted in the United States Navy from 1989 to 1997, serving in Operation Desert Storm, and earning several service medals and awards during that time.

Paul currently resides in West Grove, PA with his wife Kristen. Paul has 2 daughters, Stephanie and Emily.

Josh Gros - Team Coordinator

Josh Gros knows what it takes to win a Major League Soccer Championship. A four-year starter for D.C. United, Gros helped lead the Black and Red to the 2004 MLS Cup in his first season. Gros is in his ninth season as Team Coordinator, with his primary responsibilities involving many areas of team operations and administration.

Selected by D.C. United in the 2004 MLS SuperDraft, Gros was immediately inserted into the starting lineup, becoming the club’s first draft pick to log more than 2,000 minutes. Known for his tireless work ethic, the Rutgers graduate logged over 9,000 minutes in 110 games, resulting in nine goals and 14 assists. Gros earned a cap with the U.S. Men’s National Team in a 2-0 victory over archrival Mexico on February 7, 2007. An unfortunate series of concussions forced the 2006 MLS All-Star into early retirement at the end of the 2007 season.

Prior to returning to MLS, Gros spent 18 months working as a civil engineer for VIKA, Inc., in Virginia. He continued to stay involved in soccer, however, serving as an assistant coach with the Northern Virginia Royals of the USL Premier Development League.

David McKay - Assistant Coach, Performance

Garrison Draper - Performance Director 

Steve Hudyma - Assistant Athletic Trainer

Brandon Comisky - Equipment Director

Dan Nolan - Player Liaison Manager

Kyle McCarthy - Director of Scouting Operations

Terence McFadden - Scouting Analyst 

Jay Cooney - Video Analyst 

Dean Costalas - Data Analyst 

Brad Papson - Physical Therapist   

Steve Mathews - Team Chiropractor

David Webner -Team Doctor - Sports Medicine

Chip Hummer - Team Doctor - Orthopedic

Jim McGlynn - Team Doctor - Orthopedic