NCE Soccer – Meet The Team

NCE Soccer: Excellence Is Standard

NCE Soccer provides elite soccer coaching – and that can only be delivered by a world-class team.

That means top class coaching, it means access to the ultimate soccer resources, it means maintaining excellence as standard.

Led by former Manchester United and England player John Curtis, we are determined to set new standards, to lead by example.

We are committed to constantly improving, we never stop learning, we never stop trying.

We are committed to providing each and every player with the tools you need to maximize your potential.

Senior Management

John Curtis, Technical Director & Founder

John is the Founder and Technical Director of NCE Soccer.

John graduated from the prestigious Manchester United Academy, helping the club win the FA Youth Cup in 1995 and winning the young player of the year award in 1997. Making his Manchester United debut in the 1997/98 campaign, John was purchased by Blackburn Rovers in 2000 for $2,000,000 and went on to play for Leicester City and Portsmouth in the English Premier League. During his 15-year professional career, John played in every tier of English professional soccer, representing clubs like Nottingham Forest, Sheffield United, Barnsley, Preston, and Northampton Town. In addition to his exploits at club level, John captaining his country, England, at U15 to U20 levels and is the most capped England School Boy of all time.

John began coaching towards the end of his playing career, working at league clubs in England, Australia, and Italy. He holds the esteemed UEFA A License and the USSF A Youth License. John is also a US Soccer Coach Educator and delivers coaching licenses across the North East.

John is responsible for overseeing the entire NCE program and uses his extensive experience in professional youth development to help fulfill our mission.

Email Coach John

Mikaela Howell, Director of Operations

Mikaela Howell is NCE Soccer’s Director of Operations and a former professional soccer star.

She spent several years at Monroe College in New Rochelle, NY. Having played for two years at the school as a forward, during which she became Monroe’s first women’s soccer player to earn an “All American” title, she joined the Monroe Mustangs coaching staff in 2013.

A two-time NJCAA All-American, as well as, an NSCAA All-American her final year, Mikaela was one of the nation’s most prolific players during her years as a student-athlete at Monroe. Her accomplishments for most goals scored, most points earned, and most assists in a single season still stand as college records. As an assistant coach in Monroe’s women’s soccer program, Mikaela was part of the coaching staff that led the team to its first NJCAA National Championship in 2014. In addition to her role helping to build and direct the women’s soccer program, she partnered with Monroe’s international admissions team; using her expertise to recruit and guide students from Europe, Canada and Australia.

In addition to her stalwart play at Monroe, the British national from Salisbury, England was a member of her country’s national teams at the U15 and U17 level. On the club side, she played for seven years at various levels with Arsenal LFC, as well as spells at  DC United, Chelsea LFC, Watford LFC, and Reading WFC.

Mikaela holds a bachelor’s degree in business management and a master’s in business administration.

Email Mikaela

Nick Dunbar, Dir of Business and Organizational Development

Nick Dunbar is NCE Soccer’s Director of Business and Organizational Development.

He was Vice President of Sales and Business Development for XL Sports Tours and also works with the nationally renowned Club Champions League, as their Technical Advisor for Club Champions League New England.

Nick graduated from Northumbria University with a Bachelor of Arts (HONS) in Sports Studies with a concentration in Sport Sociology and added a Post Graduate Certificate of Education in Physical Education at Leeds Metropolitan University. He is also a qualified teacher for up to High School age students.

Nick’s experience extends beyond the soccer field and into the boardroom having held multiple executive roles including Academy Director and Director of Human Capital for Global Premier Soccer (Waltham, MA) one of the largest club programs in the USA, Senior Management Advisor at the renowned Seacoast United Soccer Club (Hampton, NH) and President of Major League Soccer Camps (Groton, CT).  As President of MLS Camps Dunbar led the largest provider of sports education across the USA and was responsible for corporate growth.

He is a respected thought leader in youth soccer matters and has spoken regularly at regional, national, and international conferences and forums on topics ranging from coaching, coach and player development, and curriculum design and rollout.  He holds his FA Coaching Certificate, a USSF “A” coaching license, and a United Soccer Coaches Premier Diploma, and also the Master Coach and Soccer Leader Diploma.

Email Nick

James Fletcher, Marketing & PR

James Fletcher is a former national newspaper journalist with more than 20 years experience.

He began his career as a news journalist with local newspapers, before moving to The Mirror in London aged just 21. Notable news events included the death of Princess Diana, the Gulf War, General Elections, crime, news and politics.

In 1999 he moved to Manchester to become The Mirror’s Chief Northern Football Writer, before moving to the News Of The World. Responsibilities included covering Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool nd clubs in the North West of England as well as the England national team, working closely with the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson, Wayne Rooney, Sam Allardyce, David Beckham, Ryan Giggs and Steven Gerard.

In 2007 he established Onside PR, a PR agency based South of Manchester in the UK, and has gone onto work with numerous clients including the Professional Footballers Associate, SMEs, individual sports personalities, and high net worth individuals.

James provides NCE Soccer with marketing and PR support, as well as producing content for the NCE Soccer websites and social media channels.

Email James

Regional Directors

Liam Witham, New England Regional Director

Liam Witham is NCE Soccer New England Regional Director

His playing career began at the age of 6, and he went on to play semi-professional soccer in England before moving to the US to pursue a career in coaching.

Liam has been coaching since the age of 16 and continued whilst still at college, gaining a degree in Sports Fitness and Coaching.

In addition, Liam also obtained his F.A level 1 and 2 badges and was awarded the prestigious UEFA B license in 2012.

Liam has gained valuable experience coaching both boys and girls on both sides of the Atlantic.

Email Coach Liam

Scott Middlemass, North Atlantic Regional Director

Scott Middlemass is NCE Soccer North Atlantic Director.

Scott was raised in England in a soccer family and followed his father into the professional game. Scott’s professional career lasted over 14 years, taking him to 4 countries (England, China, Norway, and the U.S.) and 3 continents.

Scott arrived in South Jersey in 2001 after he retired from playing and became the Technical Director for a local South Jersey Club where he worked for 13 years.

He went on to build a club-neutral Talent ID structure for a league with teams and players from DE, PA, and South Jersey, and, at its height, this program had four separate training centers in which there were local, district, and regional level training groups.

Many of the players that attended the training centers had the opportunity to travel to Brazil, Argentina, Belgium, Portugal, Spain and/or England to compete against teams such as Manchester City, Vasco de Gama, Argentina Juniors, Celtic, Borussia Dortmund, Liverpool, Chelsea and Barcelona.

Scott currently resides in South Jersey and is responsible for delivering NCE programming within NJ, DE and PA.

Email Coach Scott

Lee Broster, Goalkeeping Director

Lee Broster leads NCE Soccer’s Goalkeeping program across all regions.

He was formerly goalkeeping and lead foundation coach at Notts County, the oldest professional football club in the world, responsible for implementing the goalkeeping syllabus for youth players aged 9-to-18-years.

Lee delivered comprehensive coaching for goalkeepers in the Senior First and Reserve teams as well as the supervision of coaching staff, ensuring safeguarding policies were followed across the Academy. This included organized assessment evenings to advise and discuss young player development with parents and guardians.

He worked alongside first team manager Martin Allen and three of his young graduates went on to win professional contracts with Notts County before moving to the US in 2015 to coach with PDP before joining forces with John Curtis and the NCE Soccer team.

Lee has grown the goalkeeping Centre of Excellence program from a handful of young keepers to a roster full of talent coaching more than 400 youngsters in the past three years. Lee is well qualified and has successfully achieved UEFA B License Level 3 in both Outfield and Goalkeeping, UEFA level 2, and Youth Module 1 & 2 qualifications.

Email Coach Lee

Coaching Team

Jack Abelson, Coach

Jack Abelson is an established member of the NCE Soccer coaching team.

He is a former Boston Breakers Academy coach, CFC and CT Rush, as well as a Volunteer Assistant at Harvard University.

Jack also joined the University of Bridgeport as Assistant Coach before being promoted to Associate Head Coach from 2018-to-2020, where he helped lead them to the NCAA National Championships.

Jack is originally from England, he was born and raised in North London and remains a Tottenham Hotspur supporter as well as a fan of disco!

He lives in Stratford CT with his wife and is driven by a passion to help develop young players. He hopes one day to coach for a professional club.

Evan Brandsdorfer, Coach

Evan Brandsdorfer is a former semi-professional soccer player from Scotland.

He moved to the States and went onto player Division 1 soccer at Temple University following an all-state career at East Brunswick (NJ) High School.

Evan was a member of the US Academy program and played for MatchFit Academy.

As a coach, aside from his work with NCE Soccer, Evan is the head coach at Sarah Lawrence College and was formerly a top assistant at Division 1 Saint Peter’s University for five years, having previously served as an assistant at Division 1 NJIT and Division 3 Drew University.

Tiffany Lucas, Coach

Tiffany Lucas is a former double  NJ State Cup winner.

The tough tackling defender was crowned South Jersey Defender of the Year at High School an d was All-American nominee, four-year  varsity player

Tiffany started playing club ball with Mt. Laurel United, played W League at the age of 15 & 16 with the South Jersey Banshees, and the Medford Strikers. She also enjoyed four years at Shawnee High School and starring as senior-year captain.

Tiffany’s coaching career began under former coach James Galanis, working with the Medford Strikers/Universal Soccer Academy for four years before enjoying seven years with Mt. Laurel United earning her SSF F, E, & National D Licenses along the way.

She has coached for the past two years coaching independently working with SLM Soccer and now NCE Soccer.

Watching the USWNT win the 2015 World Cup on tv with my U13 girls team. The last time the USWNT had won a World Cup was in 1999 and I was the same age those girls. It was a really special soccer moment to share with them.

Away from football, Tiffany lives in Moorestown, NJ and helps people to buy houses during the day.

Ben Scott

For an egg-chasing fan who loves the sound of leather on willow, Ben Scott sure makes a fine soccer coach.

NCE Soccer’s very own Yorkshire ex-cricket star may have been in the United States since 2005, but his love for sport remains as English as tea.

Ben is a vastly experienced soccer coach, he has coached in the New York area for the last six years and has his UEFA B License, USSF C License, USYS National Youth License, USC Director of Coaching Diploma, and TOPS Soccer Qualification.

Ben has been part of the NCE Soccer coaching team for the past six years, as well as enjoying coaching with UK Elite Soccer, NOGA Soccer, and LMFC Boys in a Director of Coaching role.

Over the past 15 years he has coached thousands of young players and, even though he is totally committed to soccer, still has a passion for Yorkshire cricket and Leeds Rhinos Rugby League, or egg-chasing as some would say! As a schoolboy, he was selected for Yorkshire Schools Crickets Teams.

Ben lives in Ossining, New York, with his wife Amanda and two boys, Luca and Euan.

Tyrone Mears

Tyrone Mears is a former MLS and Premier League defender who was so impressed by NCE Soccer – he asked to join us!

The former Seattle Sounders, West Ham, Derby County, and Burnely will join NCE Soccer ahead of Christmas.

Tyrone only hung up his pro boots at the end of 2019 and so brings a very current, thoroughly professional, and top-class pedigree to NCE Soccer.

He is studying a Master’s Degree in Sports Directorship and is due to finish his UEFA ‘A’ Licence, and has been coaching more recently at Manchester City’s Academy.

Oscar Flores

Oscar Flores was raised on Long Island and a graduate of the ODP Program in Eastern New York.

He was played across numerous league clubs and was selected for the ODP Region 1 program.

Oscar began to develop his coaching career at the age of 18 and has coached both boys and girls at youth clubs on Long Island.

He has secured his National D License and continues his own coaching development journey, whilst coaching for NCE Soccer in the New York Metro area.

Dan Christian

Dan Christian is a former US Soccer professional and hugely experienced junior coach.

The former South Jersey Barons joined the coaching staff after a successful playing career.

Dab was Director of Youth Services at the club and in 2004 was named PDL South Jersey Barons Coach of the Year.

He has enjoyed success with the TSF as Academy Manager, Technical Director of SJEB Rush, and continues to combine his role with Cedar Stars Academy with his role at NCE Soccer.

Away from soccer, Dan likes to fish, spend time with his family and watch his beloved Liverpool FC on the TV.

Goalkeeping Team

Adam Janowski, Goalkeeping Coach

Adam Janowski is a former Polish Youth international goalkeeper.

He coaches NCE Soccer Students in the New York Metro area and is committed to developing top class shot-stoppers.

Adam combines his role with NCE alongside that of goalkeeping coach with Hofstra University and as FC Barçelona Academy Pro NY GK Director.

As a player, Adam represented Region 1 ODP and played for Longwood High School, representing the Poland Youth National Team at the age of 13 and 14.

His collegiate career was at Hofstra where he played and coached at the D1 University out of New York, being crowned CAA Finalist three years as a GK, Adelphi University Conference Champions, and NCAA Elite 8 as a Coach.

Nick Pilny

Nick Pilny played in goal for the highly ranked Washington United and Real Jersey FC soccer clubs throughout High School.

He went on to play four years as Varsity Keeper at St. Augustine Prep from 2014-2018 (continuously ranked as a top team in SJ and the state) and is the current Elizabethtown College goalkeeper in Division Three.

Nick traveled to Spain and Canada with Washington United and SALA, respectively and was a former NJ State Cup Champion with Washington United 2018; NJ President’s Cup State Champion with Real FC 2016; South Jersey Sports Digest Team of the Season 2017; Press of Atlantic City Boys’ Soccer MVP 2018; Cape Atlantic League 1st Team Honorable Mention 2018.