Training Staff

Brian Thomsen

Brian Thomsen is NLSTA’s Director of Operations. He strives to 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 NLSTA’s Director of Operations, Brian also serves as the Director of Coaching & Player Development, and the Technical Director for Next Level Soccer Academy. Brian is also Director of Programs for Washington Crossing FC Select. Brian 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 at 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.


Amelia Curtis

Amelia Curtis is a member of the Top 10 Nationally Ranked College of New Jersey Women’s Soccer Team. She has played Club soccer for some of the top clubs in the State of New Jersey, and was also a four-year varsity soccer player at Hillsborough High School.

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 currently has his US Soccer Grassroots 11v11 Coaching License and his NJ Youth Soccer F License. He has been coaching youth soccer for more than a decade.

Kevin Esteves

Kevin is currently a center midfielder for the College of New Jersey. Prior to college, Kevin played for several high level clubs, including playing under Sam Nellins for the U16’s in the US Soccer Development Academy. Kevin also played under Wayne Galloway and Dan Riverso and at one point was on a team ranked number 3 in the nation. While playing high school, Kevin earned First Team All Watchung, First Team All County, Second Team All State, Preseason Top 10 Midfielders in the State, and he was voted top midfielder according to the Star Ledger.

Lucas Palker

Lucas played soccer for the vast majority of his life, having graduated from Hopewell Valley Central High School in 2012, where he was a varsity player for the soccer team for several years, while also competing at the club level with NLSA. He then attended Paul Smith’s College where he played for 1 year before transferring schools and focusing on completing a degree in Exercise Science. Lucas is currently the manager of Wellspring Fitness, located in Princeton, and Spirit Fitness, located in Hopewell Valley, where he is a strength and conditioning coach specializing in injury prevention training. With his combined experience in both soccer and strength and conditioning, Lucas has worked with a large variety of athletes and individuals from age 7-75.

Nate Papperman

During a successful soccer career at Drew University, Nate 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 “D”, “E”, and “F” Licenses, as well as La Liga Training Methodologies Levels 2 & 3.

Andrew Plunkett

Andrew is the current Allentown High School Varsity Boy’s Soccer Head Coach. In the six years he has been there, the Redbirds won the school’s first State Sectional title and State Championship title. He was awarded Coach of the Year in 2011, 2012, and 2013.

Plunkett was a four year starter as a central defender at Arcadia University, and an integral part of that 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.