USA Taekwondo Continues to Strengthen National Structure

Jan. 18, 2019, 11:07 a.m. (ET)

USA Taekwondo today announces exciting plans to introduce Regional and State teams in 2020, and names the new Regional Head Coaches for 2019, increasing the opportunities for athletes and coaches to be recognized and receive development support from the NGBEach region will be headed up by the newly announced Regional Head Coaches (see below for details), who will be tasked with running programs and services such as athlete development/talent ID camps and team events, including new inter-regional and inter-state competitions for team members. 


One of the first tasks for the new Regional Head Coaches will be to build out their coaching team and, working with the High Performance Department (including the National Team Coaches for sparring, poomsae and para disciplines), will name coaches in positions such as Poomsae Head Coach, Para Coach and State Head Coaches, creating strong and united leadership in each and every part of the country.


USA Taekwondo Executive Director Steve McNally said: “The days of ‘National Team or Bust’ are over. The new structure provides multiple levels of representative opportunities, for both athletes and coaches, and will provide a clear path for improvement and progression for those who fall a little short of making Team USA in any given year. Rather than abandoning them, as perhaps happened in the past, USA Taekwondo will now provide more opportunities to train at a world class level and compete in high quality competition against some of the best athletes from around the U.S., all with the aim of being ready next time.


Selection for the Regional and State teams will closely mirror the new National Team selection procedures, with the U.S. National Rankings sponsored by Tusah being the method used to name athletes to the team. An athlete may only be on one of the three teams (National, Regional or State) and will be named by being the highest ranked athlete not already on a higher level team in the geographical qualification zone for each team. Detailed selection procedures will be published next week, before the first competition of 2019 takes place.


McNally continued: “Along the way the achievement of becoming a state or even National Champion has become devalued in taekwondo, and that should never have happened. Being the best in your area, or representing your region or state in your sport should be a source of great pride, as it is in many other sports. These programs are designed to rebuild that as much and as quickly as possible. With state, regional and national teams being underpinned by the Athlete Academy we will be able to help develop and celebrate many more amazing athletes, and build the depth that we need to make continual performance gains and, ultimately, truly Dominate in ’28 at the LA Olympic Games.


Please note that the qualification period for 2020 begins immediately, so every point you earn in 2019 will count towards your efforts, with teams being named using the U.S. National Rankings sponsored by Tusah as of the end of year totals.


Equally exciting, today we can announce that following a detailed application and review process the following coaches have been named as Regional Head Coaches in each of the regions indicated on the map below:



Region 1

Dave Pelham


Region 2

Ed Givans & Melany Moras


Region 3

George Sloan


Region 4

Sang Cha & Lynda Laurin


Region 5

Russ Gale


Region 6

Russ Beneby & Dennis White


Region 7

Dennis Kim


Region 8

Andrew Park


High Performance Director May Spence said: “We are really excited about this program, as we need to put just as much focus on the coaches as the athletes if we are to be successful. A divided country is much more likely to fail, and we will be tasking these coaches with the job of helping us to unify the factions, representing and inspiring the other coaches in their regions, presenting innovative thinking to the National Office and, most importantly, playing a major role in putting the U.S. back on the right path to success in 2020 and beyond. If we all work together we can quickly become an unstoppable force.


These positions are held for one year before a review. Successful applicants will be contacted very shortly to schedule an in-person meeting at the U.S. Open as plans for regional teams are built out ready for 2020.