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About Next Star

At Next Star, we believe that passion and diligence are the driving forces behind success. Our mission is to nurture these qualities in every player while providing a profound understanding of the game.


Our approach extends beyond mere technical and physical development; we offer invaluable insights into the intricate dynamics of youth leagues, MLS academy programs, college recruitment, and professional pathways. Additionally, we guide sports psychology, nutrition, and discipline, recognizing that holistic development is key to achieving excellence. We understand parents' vital role in a player's journey, and we prioritize their involvement and support.

Specializing in comprehensive soccer training, Next Star also delivers tailored programs designed to enhance technical skills and physical prowess for individuals and groups alike. Our services encompass mentorship, counseling, and consulting for academies, colleges, and aspiring professionals.

Meet Our Coaches
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Paul Torres

Head Coach

Coach Paul Torres played six years professionally at the highest levels in Sweden and Norway. Prior to becoming a professional, he was recruited by the University of Maryland in 2009, where he played for two years. During his youth, he played for the Bethesda Roadrunners, winning 3 state and 2 regional championships. He later captained the DC United U16 and U18 Academy Teams, won the U17 MLS Cup championship, and captained two teams to the Youth MLS cup championships. Paul was twice named DC United Academy Player of the Year and U-17 MLS Cup MVP.  In 2008 and 2009, he was selected to the US Soccer Federation U16 starting IX, and Region 1 U18 starting IX in 2009. Paul also had the opportunity to train with the D.C. United first team for several years, starting at age 16, which helped to launch his Maryland and Europe careers.

He is passionate about one-on-one coaching, bringing together strong groups, and mentoring players who aspire to elevate their game and work hard to realize their full potential.

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Phillip Gyau

Head Coach

Phillip Gyau is a former U.S. National Team forward and current head coach of the Howard University men's soccer program in Washington DC.


He played professionally in Belgium and the United States, winning multiple championships including the US Open Cup in 1987, and the American Professional Soccer League Championship in 1990 with the Maryland Bays and again in 1994 with the Montreal Impact. Gyau then coached the USMNT Beach Soccer team for ten years. Since then, Coach Gyau has become a local coaching legend due to his unrivaled passion, dedication, and work ethic, helping to develop some of the nation's top talents, including his daughter Mia Gyau and son Joseph Gyau, among many others. His proven success in identifying and nurturing young talents over the last twenty years has earned him great respect within the professional soccer community domestically and abroad, during which he has led local clubs to several state and regional championships.


In recognition of his accomplishments and contributions to US Soccer, Coach Gyau was inducted into the Maryland Soccer Hall of Fame in 2007.

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Chris Pontius

Mentor / Coach

We are incredibly honored and excited to announce that Chris Pontius, former US Men’s National Team player, MLS All Star, 11-year MLS Veteran is part of Next Star as a Pro Coach/Mentor. Within the structure of Next Star’s proven methodologies and philosophies, Chris’ tremendous success and experience on and off the field will make for invaluable and unforgettable lessons for any player, and especially those in midfield and attacking positions.


Chris Pontius discovered his passion for soccer at a young age. His early years were marked by dedication and a strong work ethic, traits that would become his trademark throughout his professional career. Pontius attended the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), where he played college soccer for the UCSB Gauchos. During his collegiate career, Pontius made a name for himself as a dynamic and versatile player. His contributions to the team's success were instrumental in UCSB winning the NCAA National Championship in 2006. Chris Pontius's professional journey began when he was selected seventh overall by D.C. United in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft. His impact on the team was immediate, as he made his debut in the season opener and quickly established himself as a key player. Pontius's ability to play multiple positions, including midfielder and forward, made him a valuable asset for D.C. United.


Juan Daniel Ramírez

Head Coach

Juan Daniel Ramírez is a current professional player for Loudoun United FC born in Medellin, Colombia and raised in the DMV area. Juan started his youth career with Bethesda Lions coached by Emile Mbouh and Phillip Gyau, which quickly earned him a spot for the US youth national team from u13 to u16. He later played for Bethesda Academy as well as D.C. United U18. Building on the  foundation of his youth career, Juan then moved on to play internationally. Moving back to his hometown, Medellin, Colombia, he was selected to play for renowned club, Envigado FC for two years. He then had the opportunity to travel to Brazil where he spent time training with professional clubs such as Ponte Preta and AD Guarulhos. These experiences led him to play in Spain for AD Alcorcón and Fuenlabrada Reserves in 2020-2022. 


Juan now joins Next Star as our coach. Through group sessions to one-on-ones he’s eager to guide young players in setting a strong foundation for themselves while building a positive mindset and the skill of perseverance.

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Jordan Gamarra


Coach Jordan was born and raised in Northern Virginia. He was a vital part of BRYC's 2017 USYS U18 National Championship team, playing fullback, winger, and center-back. He continued his playing career in college at American University and William & Mary. Jordan continued to play semi-professional soccer across various leagues throughout his collegiate career.

After college, Jordan pursued his professional career, playing at CD Olímpic de Xàtiva (3a RFEF) in 2021. Shortly after his stint in Spain, Jordan underwent surgery and is still recuperating before resuming his professional career.

Jordan also has extensive education and coaching experience. He has coached at BRYC and Virginia Legacy Football Club and volunteered with Grassroots Health and Reading Tutors, helping to teach DC Public School Students health and reading.

Jordan is excited to help nurture young players to reach their football goals. Jordan's injury history, playing experience, coaching experience, and performance background give him all the tools necessary to develop players holistically. 

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