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Club Staff

Club Director - Mike Sweeney

There are very few professional athletes that are as accomplished in soccer as Mike. He began his professional career in the North American Soccer League with the Edmonton Drillers in 1979, playing against superstars like Pele and Beckenbauer. During his 20 years as a pro, he represented Canada in the 1984 Olympic games and the 1986 World Cup. He competed in over 100 international games, with his country, and has virtually traveled the world playing soccer.

Mike's passion is soccer and he is dedicated to sharing his love for the sport of soccer with the youth in his program. He is a FIFA licensed coach with over 20 years coaching experience. He has assisted hundreds of young players in their dreams of becoming college players, and to the select few the opportunity of playing professionally.  Mike's current credentials include:

  • Director and Founder of The Cleveland Whitecaps since 1996
  • US Club Soccer Executive Board Member
  • I.D.2 program scout 
  • Director, All Star Soccer Camps, since 1989
  • President of CASA (Cleveland Alliance Soccer Assoc).
  • Managing Partner Alliance Soccer Dome, LLC 
  • Director of Over 50 World Cup Tournament

Grace Sweeney

Mike Sweeney introduced Grace to soccer in 1986 and it was love at first kick.  Since that time, they began many different soccer related businesses which included, soccer retail stores, a professional D 3 outdoor team - "The Cleveland Caps", All Star Soccer Camps,the Cleveland Whitecaps Premier Soccer Club, and Over 50 World Cup tournaments.  Stay tuned, a new venture is bound to begin soon.

As Club Administrator, her duties include managing the team managers, corporate accounting, and club merchandise.  Her business sense allows her to juggle many hats at once and still advise on the Booster Club board, and help plan fun events for the Whitecaps families.

Grace was born in Poland but grew up in Cleveland, spending most of her youth playing a variety of sports.  She was a competitive gymnast and coached, and managed clubs for over 15 years.  A Cleveland State Graduate, with a BA in Marketing, she resides in Independence with husband Mike.

Director of Coaching - Joel Santiago

Joel was born in Lisboa, Portugal and was fortunate to live a stone's throw from Sporting Portugal's stadium and world famed academy.

First as a youth player and later as a coach, he was able to witness and experience first hand the development process of one of the best soccer academies worldwide. After moving to NY to pursue his film studies and working on TV/Film industry for almost 10 years he was lured back to the beautiful game, excited about the growth of soccer in the US and it's potential.

Started with the NY Red Bulls and then joined the largest youth club in NY state and finally is now in Cleveland, ecstatic to have the opportunity to use his european soccer experience, mixed with his knowledge and experience of the american soccer player and it's culture, to raise even more the level and quality of the whitecaps youth academy.

An avid student of the game, his favorite hobbies are Film and reading, specially soccer academic papers. 

Julia Balodis - Club Administrator

Julia played soccer since she was 4 years old She played on Varsity for four years at Holy Name High School and then went to play for Cleveland State University in 2012. She started coaching camps and goalies with CAPS FC in 2012. She was also head JV and assistant varsity girls soccer coach for 4 years at Holy Name High School and now is coaching Lakewood High School girls soccer.  Stay tuned, a new venture is bound to begin soon.

As Club Administrator, her duties include managing the team managers, corporate accounting, and club merchandise.  Her business sense allows her to juggle many hats at once and still advise on the Booster Club board, and help plan fun events for the Whitecaps families.

Julia was born and raised in Parma, Ohio spending most of her youth playing a variety of sports.  She was a competitive soccer player and coached.  A Cleveland State Graduate, with a BA in Graphic Design and minor in Marketing, she also enjoys designing work for the club including logos, tshirts, fliers & social media advertisements.

Karol Boryka - Coach

Karol Graduated from Brecksville-Broadview Hts, High School in 2010.  He has completed his English and Professional Writing Bachelor Degree from John Carroll University, and is Currently working on MBA 

His playing background includes:  All-Greater Cleveland Goalkeeper for Brecksville-Broadview Hts High School .
Goalkeeper at National finalists Notre Dame College in 2010-2011.
Transferred to John Carroll University and played midfield from 2011-2015.
After that Karol embarked on a european adventure that saw him experience playing on Poland's lower leagues.

He has been coaching with the Whitecaps for the past 6 years.  He started doing goalkeeper training, eventually progressing to footskills training and team practices. He is now a head coach.  He is a student of the game and some of his coaching credentials include, a USSF D License;  Goalkeeper level 1 and level 2 Licenses; LaLiga Formation Methodology coaching course.

Karol is currently working on his Masters Degree and resides in Brecksville.

Eric Lapsansky - Boys Coach & Goalie Trainer

Eric Lapsansky is entering his nineteenth season with the Cleveland Whitecaps.  Eric has coached the majority of years with the high school boys and has directed the goalkeepers through his tenure.  He has coached on the girls side also, as well as the u14s the past five seasons.  

Eric also coaches collegiately for the CWRU Spartans’ as an Assistant Coach/goalkeeper coach.   Lapsansky also was apart of the CWRU men's and women's coaching staff, from 1998-2000.

  A 12-year high school coaching veteran who was tabbed as the NSCAA/OSCAA Ohio Coach of the Year in 2004, Eric entered his first season, 2011, as an assistant coach at Cleveland State. He will work mainly with the goalkeepers.

Lapsansky was the head coach of the girls soccer team at Brecksville - Broadview Hts High school for 12 years. Compiling a 142-57-26 record highlighted by a No. 23 national ranking in 2004. He led the Lady Bees to a top 10 state finish eight times and was a six-time conference coach of the year, earning Greater Cleveland Coach of the Year honors in 2004 and 2007.
Since 1998 he has been the goalkeeping director and instructor for soccer camps at the College of Wooster, and from 1998-200 he held the position of Ohio North Goalkeeping Coach at the Ohio Youth Soccer Association North Olympic Development Program.
 He briefly played with the Cleveland Caps of the United States Indoor Soccer League in 1996 before beginning his coaching career as an assistant at Chagrin Falls High.
In 1991, he earned his BA in Elementary Education at Willmington University. In addition to his coaching positions/passions, Eric currently teaches Social Studies at the Brecksville Middle School. Eric has two boys, Gavin and Jake, and reside in Brecksville.

Currently, Eric leads goalkeeper training and development for the Cleveland Whitecaps and is looking forward to start his goalie academy at our new state of the art facility.

Bryan Petsche - Coach

Bryan has been coaching soccer at the youth level since 2008.  Bryan has also coached at the high school level for over 10 years.  He was the JV head coach and Varsity Assistant at Orange high school for over 5 years and then became the head coach at Cuyahoga Heights High School, where he coached for 4 years.  Bryan utilizes his educational background and love of the game to get the most out of his players.  Bryan strives for his players to be strong in possession, resilient in defense, and creative in attack.  "All players need to be willing to defend and attack and it is my responsibility to develop that in each one of my players."

Tim Tsirambidis - Coach

Just like the overwhelming majority of our coaches, Tim has been with the club for more than a decade and also came from High School coaching.

His love for the game and passion for human development make him an invaluable asset for the club and more importantly for the community.



Connor Jamison - Coach

Connor Jamison is currently the coach for Padua Franciscan High School boys and works with players all ages, coaching our younger and older age groups.

After playing and graduating from John Carroll University he started working with his Alma mater Padua Franciscan and quickly rose to the JV head coaching position and we are happy he was the right person to join our coaching roster this 2018/19 season. 

With a clear understanding of the values established within the club and a passion for player and personal development, Connor's a caring and knowledgeable coach with a bright future ahead.