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Jessica Whitfort - Sapphire Head Coach

Jess is an Elite Accredited Coach who has vast experience across various pathway programs including the Netball Victoria and Netball Queensland State teams. She has also spent 2 years working with Victoria Fury in the ANL competition and as head coach in the Victorian Netball League for over 5 years.

More recently Jess was named assistant coach of Sunshine Coast Lightning’s 2020 ANL side the Capital Darters. Jess is excited to be leading USC Thunder for 2021 as they look to back up last year’s first finals appearance and challenge for the ultimate title of Hart Sapphire Series Champions.

Karen Martyn - Sapphire Team Manager

Karen has had over 13 years’ experience in Netball as both a Coach and a Manager at both club level, school level, at representative level with SCNA and semi-professional level with Thunder.
Karen has also coached with the Motivationz Program for many years including two netball tours to Fiji and one to New Zealand, where she had the opportunity to work with very high-level athletes and coaches.

She has an amazing network of wonderful athletes, coaches, managers and parents throughout the Sunshine Coast Netball Community. This year will see Karen gain even more experience in the world of semi-professional netball and elite netball procedures with the Hart Sapphire Series and offer ongoing support to both our amazing Head Sapphire Coach and Athletes and the entire USC Thunder Team.

Charlene Sommerville - Ruby Head Coach

Charlene Sommerville has over 30 years of coaching experience, having coached for the majority of her career in NSW. Charlene is looking forward to sharing her knowledge gained from coaching high-performance teams in NSW ranging from junior representative teams, premier league teams and state squads.

Charlene is also able to draw on her knowledge and experience of being a parent of a high-performance Netballer, supporting her daughter as she moved through the ranks and setbacks, to eventually compete at the Elite Level. A huge focus of Charlene’s coaching philosophy is player-centric. She enjoys being able to guide athletes through their journey and help them achieve their goals and is looking forward to the 2021 season with Thunder.

Angela Evans - Ruby Assistant Coach

Ange is an Advanced Level Coach that has been involved in coaching at various positions over the past 18 years. During this time, she has coached at differing levels which include School, Club, Rep, QPL, assisted at Qld State League, as well as at Academy level and delivered development sessions to the Sunshine Coast Region. She has lead the Opens QPL Caboolture Team to Grand Finals 4 out of the last 5 years and at the same time coached the U17’s Caboolture QPL teams to win the Championships in 2019 and finals in 2018.

She has been Head Coach at Caboolture for the past 2 years, in addition to being our Head Coach for our U16 Thunder teams in 2019 and 2020. She is excited to be working with a motivated and enthusiastic coaching team for 2021 in her appointment as Assistant Ruby Coach for this year.

Melissa Butt - Ruby Team Manager

Mel holds University Degrees in Communications and Sociology, with experience in major sporting event organisation dating back to the Sydney 2000 Olympic Torch Relay. Mel also worked as a Media and Communications Liaison volunteer at the Sydney 2015 Netball World Cup.

In 2019, Mel was awarded the NQ Community Coach of the Year and in 2020 was the USC Thunder U18 State Championship Team Assistant Coach. Currently a Representative Coach with the Sunshine Coast Netball Association, she is undertaking her Advanced Coach Accreditation. Mel is dedicated to helping our talented athletes grow as great players and equally great people.

Support Staff

Max McKenzie - Physical Performance Coach

Max is in his third season as Lead Physical Performance Coach with USC Thunder. He currently works across three sports at USC including netball, swimming, and Australian Rules Football with Sunshine Coast based athletes selected in the Brisbane Lions Academy. External to USC, Max is the Lead Physical Performance Coach for the Sunshine Coast Falcons Rugby League Club.

Alongside coaching, Max is a PhD candidate at USC and a Queensland Academy of Sport and Swimming Australia research scholarship recipient, investigating the effects of pre-competition temperature maintenance strategies in high performance swimming.

Samuel Muller - Lead Physio (The Knee Joint)

Samuel has been a Registered Physiotherapist since 2014. During his time as a Physiotherapist, Samuel has completed the Level 1 and Level 2, APA Sports Physiotherapy courses, in addition to the Level 1 APA Spinal course. In 2019, Samuel began his Post Graduate study, beginning his Masters of Sports Physiotherapy through LaTrobe University.

Samuel has been actively involved in sport through playing Rugby Union at club and representative levels. Samuel represented NSW Schoolboys for Rugby Union. He also played Grade Rugby at Randwick Rugby Club, in Sydney, and recently, the University of the Sunshine Coast Barbarians. This Involvement has led to a keen interest in Sports Physiotherapy. Samuel has been the Physiotherapist to many local and state level sporting teams across rugby, touch football and Football (Soccer). Through his study and Sports Physiotherapy experience, Samuel has a keen interest in the assessment and management of all Sporting and Musculoskeletal injuries including those to the groin, knee, ankle and neck.

Outside of the clinic, Samuel enjoys keeping active through Crossfit, Rugby Union and Touch Football.

Jodie Tully - Strength & Conditioning Assistant Coach

Jodie is an accredited ASCA Strength and Conditioning Coach for developmental to high performance athletes. She is a performance developmental Level 3 Accredited Running Coach with over 13 years coaching experience, specialising more recently in Elite Development programs for women.

Jodie brings great passion and energy to the role and has experience working with elite female athletes across a wide range of sports.

Ellie Meyer - Operations Administrator

Ellie holds a Bachelor of Business in Tourism, Leisure and Events Management with the experience of being a part of USC Thunder since the beginning, aiding in community, events and media for the club.

Further to this, she has worked with the Sunshine Coast Lightning coordinating the Australian Netball League Competition. Ellie brings a wide range of knowledge in events and media to aid the club in their events, operations and media.