Christina Unkel, J.D, M.B.A is an entrepreneur, legal attorney, multi-business owner, and sports tv analyst/journalist. As a past NCAA collegiate soccer athlete and former FIFA referee, Christina has spent the past 15 years working and performing at the highest professional, international, and collegiate levels of the soccer game among the elite players of the world.
Unkel’s television broadcasting work includes covering the 2019 Women’s World Cup at Fox Sports and European Football (UEFA Champions League and Europa League) for CBS HQ and Paramount +. Christina has been announced as the new State Referee Administrator (SRA) for the Florida State Referee Committee (FLSRC). Christina is also a journalist for The Athletic and CBS Sports covering referees, the laws of the game, and legal issues in sports.
Unkel’s dedication to professional soccer and equitable opportunity through sports extends beyond the field through a variety of endeavors that have been established under her leadership include:
– Founder of SPARQ Advocacy
– Co-owner of Scorch Fitness
– Co-owner, Scorch on Demand and The Deadlift Effect (mobile apps)
– Founder of Scorch Community, a 501c3 providing athletic, education, and wellness initiatives to underserved teens in Sarasota.
Unkel is a graduate of Palm Beach Atlantic, Stetson MBA Program, and Stetson Law and is the recipient of numerous awards including, Sarasota’s Women of Influence, Best of SRQ Magazine Business Leader and Lawyer, Best of Lawyers in Tampa Bay, Sarasota County Bar’s Presidents Award, and PBA’s Top 50 Alumni. She has held several chair and committee positions in her legal and sports capacities and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the International Women’s Forum (Suncoast Chapter) and is active member of the Women in Sports and Events “WISE”.
Denise Schilte-Brown will officially join Super League Tampa Bay in November 2023, upon the completion of her 17th season as head coach for the University of South Florida (USF Bulls).
Schilte-Brown has led USF to six American Athletic Conference championships, including five straight seasons with a championship from 2017-2021. In 2020, she led the team as it won both the regular season and tournament championships in the same season for the first time. She also led the Bulls to four BIG EAST Championship appearances and has only missed two postseason conference tournaments in 15 seasons. She led USF to its first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance in 2010, followed by seven more in 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021. Under her leadership, the Bulls have advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament four times, in 2010, 2017, 2018 and 2020 and advanced to the third round for the first time in program history in 2019. USF’s 2018 NCAA postseason run resulted in the largest margin of victory and most goals in the NCAA Tournament for the Bulls when they beat UAlbany in the first round, 5-1, at Corbett Stadium.
The Bulls continued a string of dominance in the American Athletic Conference in 2021, winning the regular season championship for the team’s sixth title in the last five years.
Schilte-Brown continued her success at the helm of the USF program in 2019 and the COVID-impacted 2020 seasons, leading the team to conference championships and NCAA tournament appearances in both seasons. USF posted a record season in 2019, advancing to the third-round of the NCAA tournament for the first time in program history and earning its highest final ranking at No. 12 in the TDS rankings. In 2020, the team battled a postponement of the season to capture the regular season and tournament championship in the same year for the first time.
Both 2017 and 2018 were record years for the Bulls, both with championships including a tournament championship in 2017 and a regular season title in 2018. USF posted a program-best AAC record of 7-1-1 during the regular season, and topped that with an 8-1-0 record in 2018.
Erich Leite, named Assistant Coach for Tampa Bay Sun FC in December 2023, brings a wealth of coaching experience. Over the past four years, he played a vital role in the success of the University of South Florida Women’s Soccer program, achieving three AAC Regular Season Championships and one AAC Conference Tournament Championship.
Leite also served as Director of Soccer at Lakeland United FC, leading the team to three UPSL Premier Division Florida West Conference trophies and a Florida State Championship in the last three years.
His coaching qualifications include an NSCAA Futsal Diploma and an NSCAA Goalkeeping Diploma, with ongoing pursuit of the USSF National C License. Academically, Leite holds a degree in Business Administration and a Master of Science in Administration in Higher Education, focused on the Athletic Department. His blend of coaching expertise and educational background positions him as a valuable asset in soccer.
Samantha is an experienced sports professional who has spent her entire career working in soccer and supporting the growth of the game in the Tampa Bay area. Samantha will lead the build out and execution of the club’s sporting and player operations strategies.
Samantha was previously with the Tampa Bay Rowdies of the USL Championship, where she oversaw the buildout of the Rowdies Youth Development Department while supporting the team’s sporting operations and community engagement efforts.
Samantha is an active volunteer for U.S. Youth Soccer’s TOPSoccer programs and is a member of WISE Tampa Bay.
Samantha earned an MBA from Piedmont University in 2019 and a BS in Finance and Management in 2018. While at Piedmont, she was a member of the women’s soccer program and helped lead the Lions to three conference championships.
Samantha is a Tampa native and excited to help bring women’s professional soccer to the area.
Sales & Marketing
Laura is an accomplished sports professional who has spent the vast majority of her career in sales and business development. Laura will lead the creation and implementation of the club’s ticketing strategies and operations.
Laura previously worked at WorkInSports.com, where she led the company’s educational sales pillar, which involved partnering with colleges across the U.S. and Canada to assist sport business students trying to break into the industry.
Laura earned all of her degrees at the University of South Florida in Tampa. She received her undergraduate degree in Mass Communications while working at USF Athletics as the university’s mascot, Rocky D. Bull, for four years. She then went on to complete her MBA in Sport Business and her MS in Sport & Entertainment Management with the Vinik Sport & Entertainment Management program while working at USF Athletics as an Event Management GA and at the Vinik Sports Group as a Sales Fellow.
Laura is a ‘military brat’ who has lived in many places across the globe, but has called Tampa home for over 15 years and can’t wait to make history in Champa Bay!
Ethan is a graduate of Louisiana State University (LSU) with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sports Administration and a minor in Business Administration. Ethan is working as an Account Executive where he strives to deliver packed stadiums and showcase “The Beautiful Game” to Tampa Bay.
While in college, Ethan was Head Intern for the Baton Rouge Rougarou, a collegiate summer league baseball team. During his time with the Rougarou, he managed the everyday functions of operating a baseball team and led a team of interns to execute a family-friendly gameday experience. Ethan has most recently been spending his weekends working for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 50/50 raffle team, helping give back to the greater Tampa community by raising funds for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Foundation.
Ethan is originally from Hershey, Pennsylvania (The Sweetest Place On Earth) where he grew up an adrenaline junky spending summers riding roller coasters at Hersheypark with friends and family. Ethan enjoys traveling and one of his favorite adventures was riding camels through the Sahara Desert. Nowadays, Ethan spends most weekends either kayaking and connecting with nature or on the never-ending search for the best exotic cuisine Tampa has to offer.
Jemma is a graduate student at the University of South Florida in the Vinik Sport and Entertainment Management program. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Central Florida in event management. Jemma is working as our Fan Engagement Fellow where she will cultivate and grow our fan community.
Jemma has previously worked for UCF athletics in facilities and events as well as the Solar Bears Hockey Team in multiple departments including marketing, partnerships, and operations. She has also worked at a variety of special events such as March Madness Orlando 2023 and the F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix.
Jemma is originally from Sarasota, FL and if you can’t find her at a Tampa sporting event, you can find her at the beach! She looks forward to bringing the first women’s professional sports team to the Bay area!
As Corporate Controller, Emily Vinz is responsible for all of the team’s financial and accounting functions. Before joining the team, Emily held several leadership roles for hospital and non-profit healthcare systems overseeing the finance and accounting functions. Emily has had a successful career building strong teams, helping turn around a non-profit healthcare system and overseeing the accounting for some major healthcare real estate transactions. Overall, Emily has over 22 years of accounting, finance and real estate experience.
Emily grew up playing soccer in California and Colorado. She now happily resides in Florida where she often coaches her daughter’s soccer team. She has a Bachelor’s in Accounting from Metropolitan State University of Denver.
Samantha is a highly respected Human Resources Professional with an extensive 20-year career dedicated to crafting and enhancing organizational development and objectives. With a wealth of experience, she excels in leading HR strategies, talent acquisition, policy and regulation implementation, and fostering employee development. Samantha is committed to ensuring compliance with sports regulations, safeguarding policies, and introducing innovative HR solutions, all geared towards achieving athletic excellence.
Beyond her professional pursuits, Samantha is a passionate devotee of soccer. Her connection to the sport runs deep as she was raised playing soccer, observed her father coach the game, and has actively supported her daughter’s soccer journey for the past 16 years, spanning across the US, Korea, and Germany.
Originally from Northern Kentucky, Samantha embarked on a unique path at the age of 18 by choosing to serve her country. As an Army Veteran with 25 years of global experiences, she has traversed the world, embracing diverse cultures and challenges before finding her current home in Tampa, Florida.
Samantha holds a Bachelor’s degree from the American Military University and is a proud member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). With her robust background, global perspective, and unwavering dedication, Samantha brings a unique blend of skills and passion to the world of Human Resources and Compliance in sports management.