Coach Klein had a long and distinguished career at the USL-1 level while playing for four teams following one season (1996) with the New England Revolution of Major League Soccer. Kicking things off was a two year stint from 1997-1998 with a team from his home state of Tennessee, the Nashville Metros.
From 1999-2001 he played as an attacking midfielder for the Hershey Wildcats and helped to guide them to the 2001 USL-1 Championship game in Rochester, eventually falling 0-2.
From 2003-2005 Klein toiled as a holding midfielder for the Charleston Battery where he was named MVP of the 2004 Championship game, a 3-0 win over Minnesota. He even chipped in a rare, for him, headed goal.
Upon leaving Charleston Klein landed at his final USL-1 destination, Vancouver, playing for the Whitecaps in 2006 and 2007. Primarily occupying the central defender role he helped Vancouver win the 2006 USL-1 title by upending Rochester in Rochester. Following the close of the 2007 season Klein retired from pro soccer and returned to his family home in Lancaster full time where he has occupied the position of Director of Coaching for PA Classics ever since.
The USL, and in particular the Hershey Wildcats, have had a strong influence over the PA Classics coaching staff. Former Wildcats Head Coach Bob Lilley has been a PA Classics staff coach on and off over the last 6 years around his Head Coaching positions in USL-1 (Vancouver 2005-2007 and Rochester 2010 to present). Lilley most recently was working with the USSF Academy Teams and the ’93 Girls Elite before accepting the Rhinos head job around Thanksgiving 2009.
In addition to Lilley, two other long serving Wildcats staff coaches are with PA Classics, Joe Longenecker (GK Coach) and Mike Corney (Advanced Scout). Longenecker has the same GK coach role with Classics, while Corney co-coaches the U14 Academy team and the U15 Boys Elite.
Beyond Klein, there are two other Wildcat players who are with Classics. Club VP Mike Henning played on the 1999-2001 teams, while coach Aleks Radovic played in 2001.
The PA Classics/USL mixing doesn’t end there though as staff coach Matt Tanzini played for the Harrisburg City Islanders (USL-2) for 5 years. He is still the club’s all time leading scorer. Current U13 Boys Elite and U14 Boys Academy co-Coach Mark Pulisic was with the Islanders as their Assistant Coach from 2004-2006 while Mike Henning was the Islanders General Manager from 2007-2009.
For the complete article on the USL-1 Team of the Decade please click here.