Chad Bridges is a founder, the Director of Coaching, and the Executive Director for the Next Level Soccer Academy. Bridges has been a coach at the youth soccer level since 2000. He holds his National D coach's license as well as an NSCAA Advanced National Diploma. In 2010, Bridges was named head coach of The Pennington School Boys Soccer team. Prior to founding NLSA, he worked with several club soccer teams in Mercer and Bucks County. Bridges is also a frequent staff member at several college showcase camps on the East coast.
Bridges was a four-year starter for Lenny Armuth’s Drew University Rangers and captained the team to its second consecutive NCAA tournament in 1999. He earned numerous all-conference and all-region accolades during his junior and senior years while also being recognized as one of the fiercest defenders in the nation. Bridges currently ranks 8th on Drew University’s all-time assists list. Following his success at Drew University, Bridges spent a period of time in Europe, training with semi-professional teams in Ireland. Bridges played high school soccer at The Pennington School where he earned all-area and all-conference accolades during each season of his four-years as a starter.
Bridges' club coaching resume includes a NJ State Cup championship, Disney International Cup championship and a top 5 NJ state ranking. Bridges works with all of the teams within NLSA and remains actively involved in the college recruiting process for all juniors and seniors of the club. He was also the lead trainer and coach for our State Cup Champion Sparx team, a team that ranked number 2 in the State during their tenure.
In 2010, Bridges took over as the Head Varsity Soccer Coach of The Pennington School. In his first season Bridges led Pennington to a 14-6 record and its second consecutive appearance in the New Jersey Prep A State Championship where they were defeated by St. Benedict's. Bridges' Pennington team earned the 2010 NSCAA/adidas Boys Team Academic Award with a cumulative GPA of 3.5.
Bridges was named Area coach of the Year for Mercer County on four different occasions, including the 2016 season, and was named New Jersey Coach of the Year by the Newark Star Ledger. Bridges’ teams have finished as the top ranked team in Mercer County during the 2012, 2015, and 2016 seasons. In 2016, The Pennington School won its third Mercer County Championship since Bridges has been at the helm. In 2016, his Pennington team defeated St. Benedict’s Prep 3-1 in the NJISAA Prep A final stopping St. Benedict’s run of 27 consecutive state titles. In 2016, Bridges' Pennington team finished the year as the number 3 team in the country by Top Drawer Soccer and were the Times of Trenton Team of the Year. In addition, Bridges was named The Trentonian's 2016 Sportsperson of the Year.
Bridges earned his B.A. from Drew University in 2000 and is currently the Dean of Students at his alma mater, The Pennington School.
Brian Thomsen is NLSA's Technical Director. Brian’s love for soccer started early in his life; It all started when his grandfather came to the United States via Scotland in 1963. Coming from a long line of soccer players within his family dynamic, Brian, along with his brother and sister, jumped on board and got involved in the world’s sport rather quickly.
After an exciting youth career, Brian attended Monsignor Donovan High School in Toms River, New Jersey where he was named Ocean County Player of the Year, and garnered with All-County, All-Conference, and All-State awards during his senior year. Brian finished his high school career with 56 goals and 25 assists. He also played with Player Development Academy (PDA), NJ State ODP, and Region 1 ODP during these years and competed in the top leagues and tournaments in the country. After high school, Brian attended Northeastern University of the Colonial Athletic Conference. While there, he played a role in helping the team get into two straight conference final appearances. Brian then attended the Richard Stockton College of NJ (now Stockton University) where he helped lead the Ospreys to a NCAA tournament appearance in 2010. He then captained the 2011 Ospreys, and was in the top 5 in points during both years on the team.
Brian started training teams with his uncle and father in the New Jersey shore region while in high school. He began to realize his desire to “teach” soccer when his high-level playing days were finally over. Brian would like to help transfer all the soccer information he learned during his soccer career and connect with today’s youth soccer players. He specializes in technique, reading the game, passing, and tactical awareness.
In addition to his work as NLSA's Technical Director, Brian is an Assistant Coach at the College of New Jersey, a trainer with the New Jersey Olympic Development Program, and the Director of Operations for Next Level Soccer Training Academy.
Brian's Professional Licenses include a USSF "F" License, USSF "E" License, USSF "D" License, La Liga Training Methodologies Level 3, and the NSCAA Futsal Diploma.
Team Training Staff
Jose was born in Costa Rica where he learned to play the beautiful game and became passionate with it. He later moved to the US and played for state, regional and national pool USA teams.
Jose played for 2 years at Mercer County Community College and 2 years at NJCU, where he broke the school record for most goals in one season.
Jose also played for Princeton Union under Bob Bradley (former US National Team and current Swansea City coach). He also played in the US U18 National Tournament Final.
Jose has been coaching youth soccer for more than a decade.
Whitney Lewis has held her US Youth Soccer F License since the age of fifteen and has since obtained her E License. Whitney is the trainer and coach for our Fury team. She was a four year starter and three year captain for Ewing High School. She played youth soccer locally with the Hopewell Wildfire and the Lawrence Union. Whitney is a graduate of TCNJ where she majored in Communications and was a member of the women's Club soccer team. She has coached with Phenoms Soccer for the past eight years and has worked as an assistant trainer under fellow. In addition, she has trained teams for the Hopewell Valley Soccer Association and the Ewing United Soccer Association. Currently, Whitney is the manager of the Retro Fitness in Lawrenceville, where she has worked the past several years.
Collin has returned to his roots, having played as member of one of NLSA's most successful teams, the NLSA Warriors, under NLSA senior trainer Everard Lewis. As a member of the Warriors team, Collin and his teammates won the New Jersey Youth Soccer State Cup, the Region 1 Championship, and were finalists in the President's Cup National Championship match. Collin is currently continuing his soccer career as a member of the Arcadia University Men's Soccer team, under coach Rob Nydick.
Jake Nesteruk was born and raised in Doylestown, Pennsylvania and found his love for soccer watching his older sister play at FC Delco and the University of Rhode Island. He would attend CB East, a state powerhouse under coach Mike Gorni.
Jake would then go on to attend The College of New Jersey under Coach George Nazario, where he was a three-year starter and would conclude his senior year as a team captain. Jake will graduate in May of 2017, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance.
Jake is also a senior-staff member at the private training academy, Total Soccer. It is here where he first began coaching and training, and fell in love with the game all over again. Jake is also the Assistant Varsity Coach for the girls program at Hatboro Horsham High School.
Jake holds a USSF ‘E’ license and his biggest passions are getting players to think differently and pushing players to make developments they did not think were possible. Jake’s an avid supporter of wherever Jose Mourinho goes, and his favorite player of all-time is Demitar Berbatov.
Christian Oehm grew up with soccer, completing his career at the collegiate level playing for the University of Scranton. He is currently a practicing attorney with his own law firm in Central New Jersey, but he is committed to sharing his love of soccer with aspiring athletes. He holds a USSF C License, and has nearly a decade of coaching experience at both the Club and, most recently, the ODP levels. His coaching philosophy emphasizes technical and tactical player development in a play-based atmosphere that is focused and competitive.
Nate Papperman joins NLSA after a successful soccer career at Drew University, where he helped lead the team to the conference playoffs each year. Nate also played one year internationally on the Nanjing University Men's soccer team in China. Locally, Nate was the captain at Hopewell Valley Central High School, earning All-CVC and All-State accolades. He played club soccer for the state cup champion and regional semi-finalist Princeton Union in Region 1, and played Super Y for the South Jersey Barons, and went on to the National Tournament in North Carolina.
Nate maintains LaLiga Training Methodology Level 2 and Level 3 certifications, and also holds a USSF "E" License and is currently working towards his "D" License.
Andrew Plunkett is the current Allentown High School Varsity Boy's Soccer Head Coach. In the six years he has been there, the Redbirds have won the school's first State Sectional title and State Championship title. He was awarded Coach of the Year 2011, 2012 and 2013. Under Plunkett's tenure, the Redbirds have had 78 wins, 33 losses, and 8 ties.
Plunkett was a four year starter as a central defender at Arcadia University. He was an integral part of the top 25 nationally ranked program. He was awarded All Conference awards multiple times and was the PAC championship MVP as freshman. Plunkett was an assistant coach while earning his Master's in Environmental Education.
Tina holds her US Youth Soccer National C license, and has over 35 years’ experience in soccer with 25 years as a coach and trainer. She was a four year starter and two year captain at Muhlenberg College, earning all-conference awards all four years, the player’s player award for two years, and the scholar athlete award her Senior year.
Tina worked as a referee for over 5 years. She also worked as a professional trainer through EPYSA for 6 years. Tina coached at numerous private and college team and youth training camps and sessions. Tina also started her own youth soccer camp at her former elementary school in Pennsylvania. She was a graduate-assistant coach for the Women’s soccer team at Arcadia University. Over the past ten years, Tina has coached numerous teams for the YMCA and Hopewell Valley SoccerAssociation.
In 2007, Tina earned her Masters in English and Education. She spends many volunteer hours working in the schools. Tina feels fortunate to be able to combine her love for soccer and her love for teaching, and hopes to be inspire youth soccer players to develop a lifetime love of the game. She specializes in the technical aspects of the game.
Sara Keane comes to NLSA after a highly successful playing career, and will be serving as our Head Goalkeeper trainer. Sara attended Bishop Eustace Prep High School from 2005-2009 and played varsity soccer all four years. During those four years the team won four Conference Championships, one South Jersey Coach’s Cup Championship, and two Parochial B State Titles.
After high school, Sara played collegiately for West Virginia University from 2009-2013. At WVU, the team won two Big East Conference Championships and two Big 12 Conference Championships. In all five seasons the team reached the NCAA tournament, reaching the Sweet 16 in 2010. Following her tremendously successful college career at WVU, Sara played professionally in the National Women’s Soccer League for FC Kansas City, winning the 2014 NWSL Championship.
NLSA welcomes Matt to its staff as an Assistant Coach. His passion for soccer started when he was very young, joining in on his older brother's practices for Warminster Soccer Club. Eventually, he started his playing career when he was seven, for local club Vereinigung Erzgebirge, located in Warminster, Pennsylvania. Matt was part of several highly successful club teams during his youth, including training under goalkeeper coach Elvir Prasovic.
In college, Matthew initially played Division 1 soccer at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, New Jersey. Matt started both of his first two years at FDU, before transferring to Bloomfield College. Matt is a business administration major, and plans on furthering his development as a coach at NLSA, having previously been mentored by NLSA's technical director, Brian Thomsen, at Total Soccer. Matt will also assist with Goalkeeper training.
Additional Training Staff
Nick Giacopelli is committed to share his passion for soccer while providing a platform for our young athletes to achieve their highest potential both on and off the field. Nick brings close to 20 years of coaching experience to NLSA. He holds a NSCAA National Coaching Diploma and over the course of his coaching career, he has developed teams to the highest ranks in the Regional Premier League, North East Regional Premier League, ENYYSA Premier League, PSAL, CHSAA, LIJSL, and EHYSL.
Nick has played organized soccer for over 30 years. He played at the semi-professional level for the Westchester Flames in the United Soccer League and in Italy for S.S. Cosma Damiano. He has also played at the collegiate level in the NCAA’s ECAC. Nick was the all-time leading goal scorer at Manhattanville College, ranked 20th in the nation for assists, was a 4-year first team All-Conference Player, earned Conference Player of the Year and multiple conference MVP honors. He completed with 102 Career Points and was a critical component of a team that shattered virtually every team record in the history of the college. In addition to his undergraduate degree from Manhattanville, Nick earned a MBA from Baruch’s Zicklin School of Business.
Everard Lewis, founder and director of Phenoms Soccer, and a senior trainer for NLSA. He brings over 35 years of soccer experience to the Club, including having played semi-professionally in Trinidad & Tobago and Long Island, NY. In addition to holding a D license with the United States Soccer Federation, Everard has a coaching license through the Trinidad & Tobago Football Federation (TTFF). Beyond his licensing, Coach Lewis trained under Alvin Corneal, a FIFA Instructor, in the TTFF Youth Development Program, and he is currently the Athletic Director of the Schafer Gymnastic & Athletic Center. Locally, Lewis has trained several successful and high-level youth programs, including teams within WWPSA, Lawrence Soccer Association, Hopewell Valley Soccer Association, German American Kickers (GAK), Hibernian Express and Ewing Girls Soccer. Everard coached our Warriors squad (then U15B) through the New Jersey State Cup, Region 1 Tournament, and ultimately to the US Youth Soccer President’s Cup National Championship game.
Joel joins NLSA, having come to the United States in 2011 from his birthplace of Monrovia, Liberia, where he played soccer in the Premier league. During the civil wars that spanned about 18 years in that country, he also managed to spend time in Ghana and Ivory Coast, playing at the Premier Level in both these countries. Joel played most of his soccer career as a striker, spending multiple years as the top scorer of his team. He was later recruited to play on a team in Hong Kong, China, but after a season-ending injury, had to return back to Monrovia to recover. At this time he continued his Public Administration studies at African Methodist Episcopal University in Monrovia. In 2010 he won a US Green Card through the lottery system in Liberia and decided to take on the challenge of starting a new life in this country with all its offerings.
Throughout his life in Liberia, and even during his professional soccer playing years, Joel always found time to teach soccer and coach soccer teams of kids from his local community in Monrovia, and enjoyed giving back to the people who supported him as a player. In the US, coaching has presented him with a similar opportunity to get back into the soccer world. Joel currently holds a US Youth Soccer E Coach's license.