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Next Level Soccer Academy

Staff Bios

NLSA is proud to partner with the Positive Coaching Alliance, developing Better Athletes, Better People through a positive, character-building youth sports culture. To learn more about PCA, visit their website:


Chad Bridges

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. 

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Brian Thomsen

Brian Thomsen is NLSA's Director of Player Development/Technical Director. Brian’s love for soccer started early in his life. Coming from a long line of soccer players within his family dynamic, starting when his grandfather came to the United States via Scotland in 1963, 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, 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 an 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 Director of Player Development/Technical Director, Brian is the Director of Operations for Next Level Soccer Training Academy, and the Director of Programs for Washington Crossing FC Select. Brian also spent four years as the U13 Boys Head Coach with the New Jersey Olympic Development Program, and three years as an Assistant Men's Soccer coach of TCNJ.

Brian is currently pursuing his USSF "C" License and United Soccer Coaches Advanced National Diploma. His current Professional Licenses include a USSF National "D" License, USSF "E" License, USSF "F" License, La Liga Training Methodologies Level 3, and the NSCAA Futsal Diploma.

Team Training Staff

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Sean Davies

Sean Davies is a former professional player and longtime trainer and coach in the NJ/PA area who has worked with thousands of athletes over the last 18 years.  Sean attended Middle Township High School and garnered 1st Team All-State honors in his Senior year.  He went on to a Post-Graduate year at the Hun School of Princeton where he also achieved 1st Team All-State Honors. Sean was also a member of the NJ State ODP Team in 1998.

After high school, Sean attended Millersville University where he was a 1st Team All-PSAC award winner in his Senior campaign, and still holds the career record for assists in a season and career.  He played professionally in the USL for the West Michigan Edge, Reading Rage, and the South Jersey Barons.

Sean began his coaching career while in college with 2 of the first teams ever formed under PA Classics.  Many of his players from that team are currently playing professionally in both the United States and Europe.

Sean maintains his NSCAA Advanced National License, United States Soccer Federation National Youth License, and other United States Soccer Federation Licenses.

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Christian Oehm

Christian Oehm grew up with soccer, completing his career at the collegiate level playing for the University of Scranton.

While currently a practicing attorney with his own law firm in Central New Jersey, he is committed to sharing his love of soccer with aspiring athletes.

Christian holds a USSF C License, and has nearly a decade of coaching experience at both the Club and ODP levels.  He also has experience coaching senior players during his time with Bergen County Soccer Club men’s team; which was ultimately promoted to the Garden State Soccer League’s Super Division.

His coaching philosophy emphasizes technical and tactical player development in a play-based atmosphere that is focused and competitive.

Christian has also obtained several United Soccer Coaches diplomas, including his Defending Principles of Play, Attacking Principals of Play, and Futsal certificates.

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Jose DeBernard

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 LAFC coach).  He also played in the US U18 National Tournament Final.

Jose has been coaching youth soccer for more than a decade.

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Jake Nesteruk

Jake Nesteruk joined NLSA in 2016 following the conclusion of his final collegiate season. Graduating with his Bachelor’s in Finance and English from The College of New Jersey, Jake served the men’s soccer program as a three-year starter and team captain.

Jake grew up in Doylestown, PA playing for the high-school state powerhouse, Central Bucks East under youth-soccer staple point, Mike Gorni. He would graduate high-school with numerous all-league and all-conference honors, while winning multiple league and conference titles and keeping CB East’s state competition streak alive.

Prior to coaching at NLSA, Jake served as a lead technical trainer for a private training academy where he worked with thousands of Bucks and Mercer County youth players. He also served as the Girls’ Varsity Assistant at Hatboro-Horsham High School and the Technical Director of Buckingham United Soccer Club.

Jake holds a USSF ‘E’ License and is in pursuit of his National Diploma. His favorite part about coaching is building teams that exceed expectations and that play for each other. When Jake is not coaching, he works in marketing and enjoys his rarely free weekends down the shore.


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Nate Papperman

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's Professional Licenses include a USSF "F" License, USSF "E" License, USSF "D" License, La Liga Training Methodologies Level 3 and La Liga Training Methodologies Level 2.

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Andrew Plunkett

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.

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Whitney Lewis

Whitney has been a trainer with NLSA for several years within the girls program. In her youth, she was a four year starter and three year captain for Ewing High School. Whitney attended TCNJ where she majored in Communications and was a member of the women's club soccer team.  She has coached with Phenoms Soccer for more than a decade, and from 2016 - 2018, Whitney was also the junior varsity coach for the girls program at the Pennington School.  In addition, she has trained teams for the Hopewell Valley Soccer Association and the Ewing United Soccer Association.

Whitney's Professional Licenses include a USSF "F" License, USSF "E" License, United Soccer Coaches Goalkeeping Level 1 Diploma, United Soccer Coaches 4v4 Diploma.

Whitney earned her B.A. from TCNJ, '12 and her MBA in Marketing from Thomas Edison State College, '15 and completed the Institute for Organization Management at Villanova University, '18. Currently, she is the Marketing Manager for the New Jersey Business & Industry Association, and is a board member for the Ewing Public Educational Foundation.

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Ryan Stokes

Ryan  was born and raised in New Jersey. He has dedicated his entire life to falling in love with the beautiful game, starting at age 3. Ryan’s love for the game stems from his father, Alan, who was born and raised in England and has been a huge influence on him. Ryan is a dual citizen both here in the USA and the United Kingdom.

He played most of his club career with Hibernian Celtic FC. He attended The Hun School of Princeton from 2007-2011, where he played 3 years of varsity soccer. He finished his Hun School career as the Class of 2011 LEADER IN CAREER POINTS and a 2-Time MID-ATLANTIC PREP LEAGUE CHAMPION (MAPL). Ryan graduated from The Hun School in 2011 then moved on to play 4 years of DIII soccer at Immaculata University, where he played against many top programs in the country. After graduating college, he returned back to his alma mater and is now an Assistant Coach for the Varsity Boys’ Soccer Team at The Hun School.

Ryan has played all 11 positions on the field at one time or another throughout his career. He has a deep understanding about all positions on the field. Ryan has worked various camps throughout NJ, helping boys and girls of all ages on ball skills, vision, shooting, attacking, and defending principles, and enjoying the game. Ryan has a Tactical Special Topics Diploma from the Soccer Champion Coaches Clinic and his NJYS State Certificate.

Ryan has known NLSA very well as he competed against them for many years, and has now joined our team as a GK Trainer and a Position Player Trainer for NLSA and NLSA Monjas.


Collin Marino

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.  Collin has both his United Soccer Coaches 11v11 Diploma and the USSF F License.

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