MEET OUR STAFF
Chris Taborn founded Tiger Goalkeeping Academy in the beginning of 2016, where he was co-owner, and today he is the sole owner and director of TGA. Growing up in Chicago he played his youth career playing for the Chicago Fire’s Pre-Academy, Developmental Academy, and regularly training with the Academy. He played in major U.S. youth tournaments such as Dallas Cup, Surf Cup, and the Disney Showcase. During Chris’ collegiate career he played for Olivet Nazarene University, and was a starter for all four years for the Tigers. He helped lead the program to their first ever regular season conference title and ended up winning two during his time at ONU, as well as two conference tournament championships. Chris was also selected to two All-Conference teams and made three National Appearances with the Tigers. He ended his career with the Tigers with the best overall program record for a goalkeeper, leading the way with the most goals against percentage, most accolades, and most titles. Today, Chris is retired from playing and now puts his time and focus into coaching. He currently is the head women’s goalkeeper coach at Davenport University (NCAA D2). Chris recently coached at Olivet Nazarene University on the men's side, and continues to develop players around the Chicagoland area.
Emelina (Eme) Mancha has been working for Tiger Goalkeeping Academy for the past three years and just recently took the role of Chief Financial Officer. Not having a soccer background, Eme was heavily involved in youth sports until college, playing volleyball and lacrosse. She is in her last semester of college where she is double majoring in Business Administration (with a Management Concentration) and Human Resource Management. Being certified as a Microsoft expert and other computer business applications, speaking 100% fluent Spanish, and already having job experience as an assistant human resource manager, Eme is more than qualified to run the managerial day-to-day operations at TGA. Eme attends all TGA events and is the go to person with any questions regarding the academy!
Brandon Silvera joined the TGA staff at the beginning of 2018 and is considered TGA’s immediate Chicago area head coach. Brandon still plays at a high level in the semi-pro league in around Chicago, and during his college days he received the honors of NJCAA second-team All-American, first-team All-Conference, All-Region team, and Regional and Conference Goalkeeper of the Year in 2014. Brandon began his goalkeeper coaching career with Chicago Inferno where his team made State Cup Finals and National appearances. He currently oversees the goalkeeper program at Kics United in Chicago. Brandon is a highly licensed, respected, and well-known coach around the city of Chicago.
Jackie Poortinga joined the TGA family at the end of 2017 and is considered our Chicago south suburbs head technical coach. Growing up around Chicago, Jackie played for well-respected clubs such as Chicago Magic, NSA, and Chicago Inter at a very high level. She also was a regular and received top training from respected goalkeeper coaches Stan Anderson and Doug Cardosi. Finishing up her collegiate career, Jackie will be going into her final year at Olivet Nazarene University (ONU) where she is majoring in Engineering. Going into her senior year, Jackie has already helped her team win a regular season conference title, two conference tournament titles, and two National Tournament appearances. She is a coach that the players and parents love, and even assists her coaching skills at CampShutout.
Manny Esparza joined the TGA staff in 2017, then stepped away to finish his college career and schooling. Now, we're excited to have him back with us as a full technical coach starting in the Fall of 2020! Manny is a Chicago south suburban native of Midlothian, IL and played with Chicago Magic PSG during his youth career. He then played his four year college career for the Statesmen of William Penn University in Iowa. At William Penn he got his bachelor's degree in Park & Recreational Management. During his first tenure as a TGA coach, Manny mostly assisted in the setups and session planning of our seasonal clinics. Now, with more goalkeeper coaching experience and education, he will be providing regular training for the program by assisting the local clubs we work with with consistent, quality, and weekly goalkeeper training. Manny is a knowledgeable coach that has many ties to the Chicago south suburbs and is a great re-addition to our staff.
Jeanine Valera is beginning her goalkeeper coaching career with Tiger Goalkeeping Academy as an intern starting in June. Jeanine is a product of Naperville, IL where she played her youth career for clubs such as Sockers FC and NSA. She then began her collegiate career playing for UNC-Greensboro in North Carolina, and is now finishing up her last season at Olivet Nazarene University in Illinois where she is finishing up degree in Sport Management. Jeanine currently helps out at the local soccer club in Bourbonnais, IL and does private coaching as well. She currently holds her USSF licenses as well as her Level 1 GK Diploma. During her internship, Jeanine's duties will include administration work and will be working close with our chief financial advisor, Eme Mancha. We are excited to have Jeanine join our team to learn from some of the best goalkeeper coaches in the Chicagoland area!
Sergio Mendietta is beginning his goalkeeper coaching career with TGA this Fall, and will be working on the club services side of our program. Sergio is a Tiger Goalkeeping Academy graduate who spent the last four years learning about the game from a player's point of view from coach Chris, and we are now excited so have him with our full-time staff. Sergio currently goes to school at Governors State University in University Park, IL where he is currently getting his degree in General Mathematics! As a youth player, Sergio played for the Chicago Fire Juniors South until he graduated high school and went into college. We are excited to have Sergio as he is one of the first TGA graduates who we have been able to hire from our Academy system, and is someone who knows what the TGA DNA is all about!