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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. 


Brian Thomsen

Brian Thomsen is NLSA's Director of Player Development/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 Director of Player Development/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 National "D" License, La Liga Training Methodologies Level 3, and the NSCAA Futsal Diploma.

Team Training Staff

Davies, Sean

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.


Christian Oehm

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. Christian has also obtained his United Soccer Coaches Defending Principles of Play certificate.

Jose Photo

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

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


Jake Nesteruk

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.



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.


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.


Whitney Lewis

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.


Jami Kranich

Jami Kranich has joined the NLSA coaching staff as our primary GK trainer. She joined the Princeton University women's soccer coaching staff as an assistant coach in March 2017.

In Kranich's first year on staff in 2017, Princeton keepers posted 12 shutouts, tied for the second-most in program history, while Natalie Grossi set the program's individual record for shutouts in a season with 11. The Tigers won the Ivy League title and advanced through three NCAA tournament rounds, making the quarterfinals for the second time in the 64-team era that began in 2001.

Kranich was a four-year starter in goal at Villanova, earning All-Big East honors after a junior season that saw her spend part of the Fall with the U.S. team at the FIFA U-20 World Cup. Jami was selected by the Boston Breakers during the 2014 NWSL Draft. Kranich played with the Breakers for three seasons.


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.