South Bend Lions name dedicated lead coaches for U-18 program

South Bend Lions’ U-18 program is up and running for its second year with an expanded operation and two dedicated coaches heading up the players’ activities.

Mamba Chisoni and Jason Freeman have extended their responsibilities working with South Bend Lions in new roles as lead coaches of the U-18 boys and girls teams.

Chisoni first arrived in South Bend to play with Indiana Invaders in 2004 before signing for LA Galaxy. But after returning to the area as an MLS Cup champion, the Zimbabwean has worked as Thiago Pinto’s assistant at Bethel Pilots and recently achieved his USSF A License coaching badge, and now takes charge of the U-18 Boys at South Bend Lions.

Meanwhile, Appalachian State University graduate Freeman is the interim head coach of the women’s soccer team at Bethel University and will now lead South Bend Lions U-18 Girls. He has assisted Pinto at the Pilots since 2017 while working in various roles in the local soccer scene.

The duo will act as the principal contact for their respective teams having established themselves as ambassadors for soccer in South Bend. They will be complemented by assistant coaches, guest coaches, and sports performance specialists to provide high-quality coaching and mentorship to the group.

“Having worked with Mamba and Jason before, I know how passionate they are and the amount of knowledge they have to share with this age group at South Bend Lions,” said Pinto, the club’s technical director. “It has been evident in the first few weeks how excited the group is to have people with such expertise on board.

“They have been heavily involved supporting me with training, tryouts, and first-team preparation over the past year, and they are the right fit in terms of aligning values and the style of play, as well as player and people development.

“These appointments demonstrate our commitment to what we are building – a community-focused organization that will provide young people with the best of South Bend.”