Meet The Coaches

We are proud to have the best coaches in youth soccer.

Vanessa Leonard

Coach

Coach Vanessa joined the Soccer Shots team in March 2017. Vanessa grew up in Brazil and came to the Ironbound section of Newark when she was 19 years old. Growing up Vanessa enjoyed all sorts of sports, and really loved dodgeball the most. Vanessa is married to Sean and they have two children , Sofia and Noah. Together as a family, they enjoy walking their dog, Abbey, spending time at the beach and eating out. Vanessa is a Girl Scout Leader and enjoys planning activities that help teach the girls about serving their community through projects that help others and give back.

BEST ADVICE: “Don’t take yourself (or your kids) too seriously when it comes to sports, they will get there at their own time.”

WHY DO YOU WORK FOR SOCCER SHOTS?: “I love children! Soccer Shots  is a great way for me to spend time with them and watch each child grow throughout the season.”

Amy Loki

Director and Coach

Coach Amy joined the Soccer Shots team in April 2016. Amy was born in Edison, NJ and moved to Ocean County during high school. Amy attended Stockton State College and graduated with a BA in Psychology and a BA in Elementary Education. She spent a semester abroad studying in Australia. Amy is the proud mother to her beautiful son, Kaiden. Together they enjoy going to the beach, festivals of all sorts, being outdoors and spending time with family, friends and their cat, Sonic.

BEST ADVICE: “Children are constantly learning and changing, so I believe it is important to always be present even in the smallest of moments. Believe in them and encourage them always.”

WHY DO YOU WORK FOR SOCCER SHOTS?: “I love the people I work with and being able to impact children’s lives”

Soren Morici

Coach

Coach Soren is a senior at Rutgers University, double majoring in Computer Engineering and Computer Science. Aside from his mad coding skills, Soren enjoys theater and playing games with his seven younger cousins and siblings. Soren believe in coaching with encouragement and creativity, making Soccer Island a group effort. Soren had the patience for any new beginner and the challenges for any experienced player.

BEST ADVICE: “Whenever a child is uninvolved, I recognize what they are doing. I let the know I understand knocking the cones down is fun, and I know it’s fun to run around. I also say, ‘I have a lot of fun things planned too but if we keep doing this, we won’t have enough time to do the rest of the fun stuff I wanted to share with you. Do you want to play soccer with me?’ Rather than forcing them to play, I eagerly welcome them back to soccer island!”

WHY DO YOU WORK FOR SOCCER SHOTS?: “Coaching kids brings nuance to my weekly schedule. I love to be of a child’s learning experience, encouraging them when they fail, being there when they are nervous, appreciating their hard work when they are down on themselves for messing up. In the end, I am Proud and Humbled by them.

Michael Mishkovsky

Coach

Coach Mike joined the Soccer Shots team in March 2013. Mike  was born and raised in Atlantic County, NJ. Growing up he enjoyed playing soccer, baseball and wrestling. He is also FIFA certified and spent 10 years as a referee for recreation soccer. Mike graduated from Rutgers University in 2009, He also worked as a youth minister in New Brunswick. He is the proud father of his son named Kaiden. Coach Mike is as exciting and engaging as it gets at Soccer Shots. In his free time Mike loves to skateboard and surf and you can find him riding the waves and almost always having an epic day.

BEST ADVICE: “Relax. take a breath. Your child is in the midst of positive  play. With each session, your child will naturally become more comfortable in their new environment. Keep in mind that you, your child and your coach are all here primarily for your child to experience fun, fun and more fun. Everything else is sidelined.”

WHY DO YOU WORK FOR SOCCER SHOTS?: “I love inspiring children and helping develop character in their formative years.”

Melanie Vidal

Coach

Coach Mel joined the Soccer Shots team in March 2015. She grew up in New Egypt, NJ. Melanie played soccer growing up. She also enjoys women’s softball and volleyball. She is married to Michael and they have a son named Anthony. She really enjoys watching her son play the sport they share a passion for. When Mel isn’t coaching soccer, she spends her time with her husband and son camping, gardening, going on family vacations being active and catering on the weekends. She is also a big BRCA gene advocate. Melanie is involved in her son’s school PTA and coaches him in basketball. She’s a big fan of Nascar and the 49ers. Together they all enjoy their many pets: Greyhound and Italian Greyhound dogs, a cat, an African Gray Bird, some fish and a couple of hermit crabs.

BEST ADVICE: “Be present in the moment.”

WHY DO YOU WORK FOR SOCCER SHOTS?: “I love being around children and being able to impact their lives in a fun way.”

Tracie Wainwright

Coach

Coach Tracie joined the Soccer Shots team in January 2014. Coach Tracie was raised on soccer right her in Ocean County where she played both travel and high school ball. She is married to her husband , Brian and is the mother of two sons, Nick and Tyler. She continues to play soccer on a Mom’s league, Soccer Moms for Charity, in Brick, NJ. She is thrilled to combine her love of children and soccer in her work with Soccer Shots. She is also the costumier and Drama Mama for a teen theater company in Brick. In her Spare time, Tracie loves to garden, craft, go to the theater and travel (especially to Disney).

BEST ADVICE: “No two children are ever the same even if they were born and raised in the same household by the same parents.”

WHY DO YOU WORK FOR SOCCER SHOTS?: “It covers my two loves: Soccer and Kids!”

Laura Depinto

Coach

Coach Laura joined Soccer Shots in October 2014. Some of Laura’s favorite hobbies include Soccer, crafting, reading, swimming, being outdoors and baking. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree from Rider University in 2018. She has a wonderful family with her Mom, Dad, Sister and just recently married her husband!

BEST ADVICE: “Never give up! Try practicing the skills taught in class at home, the more confident your child feels, the more likely they are to participate, and make sure your child knows how AWESOME they are doing.”

WHY DO YOU WORK FOR SOCCER SHOTS?: ” I love what I do! Working with kids and sharing my love for soccer is something I always hope to be doing.”

Kristine A. Drinovsky

Coach

Coach Kristine was born and raised in Iowa, she spent most of her life in California and New Jersey. Kristine has coached all sports at all levels for 30+ years! She is also a certified Sports Performance Coach, Exercise Physiologist, Clinical Exercise Specialist and she is also a Personal Chef. Some of Laura’s favorite hobbies are all sports, working out, working with animals and hiking. She played college basketball and she studied Exercise Physiology and Coaching. She has a daughter named Hailey and a son Nicholas who both played college basketball.

BEST ADVICE: “Have patience, kids develop differently, make sure they are having fun and practice at home.”

WHY DO YOU WORK FOR SOCCER SHOTS?: “Out standing program, love to work with kids, develops life skills and teach them to have fun via teamwork.”

Ryan Bierbrauer

Coach

Coach Ryan played a variety of sports growing up including baseball, football, basketball and of course soccer! he started playing organized soccer as  young as 5 years old. Some of Ryans favorite activities are mountain hiking, playing basketball, and staying active in multiple soccer leagues! Ryan graduated from Point Boro in 2016 then moved to Tampa, FL to pursue his goal to get his Florida Real Estate License while also studying BA. He has a family very full of 4 brothers and a loving father, mother and step-father which he is very grateful for.

BEST ADVICE: “You are not alone! It is not peculiar or uncommon for a child to not be fully engaged or struggling. Don’t question whether or not Soccer Shots is for them, consult a coach and we will do our best to resolve any situation at home”

WHY DO YOU WORK FOR SOCCER SHOTS?: ” I work with Soccer Shots because I was once that age learning as well and have progressed not only my skills but also my character and life so much over the years of this game. So to pass that along to a younger generation in hopes they take it and run with as I did is something special to me.”

Ines Santos

Coach

Coach Ines has played soccer since she was 4 years old. She Aldo has been involved in cheerleading and basketball. Her favorite hobbies are working out, reading, outdoor activities and spending time with the family playing board games or soccer.  She has two siblings a brother and a sister she is the oldest.

BEST ADVICE:” Your kid has so much potential and asking the coach for exercises is always helpful.”

WHY DO YOU WORK FOR SOCCER SHOTS?:” I enjoy working with kids as well as growing with the company and helping the company reach their goal.”

Chelsie Saldino

Coach

Coach Chelsie graduated from Crystal River, FL but has lived all over. She grew up playing soccer for 22 years she also ran track and field and played basketball in high school. Chelsie’s favorite hobbies are exercising, spending time with family and she loves Disney. She studied Elementary Education and Criminal Justice at the University of North Florida. She is a mother to Peyton and is happily married to her husband Louis.

BEST ADVICE: “Continue to encourage them to show up each week and put forth 100% effort so they will learn to love the gam. at first they may be unsure and it’s important to support them sticking the season out, they’ll learn to love it.”

WHY DO YOU WORK FOR SOCCER SHOTS?: “I love soccer and I enjoy watching children and their passion within sports.”

 

Harley Zaraza

Coach

Coach Harley has been born and raised in Toms River, NJ. She has played soccer for 14 years played softball for a few years and danced competitively. She enjoys hiking, going to the beach, skating, and listening to the music. She graduated from Rutgers University. Coach Harley is a proud cat mom to two fur babies !

BEST ADVICE: “Give everything a second try!”

WHY DO YOU WORK FOR SOCCER SHOTS?: “I want to provide children with a fun and positive soccer experience while encouraging both on and off the field.”

Rebekah Smith

Assistant Coach

Coach Rebekah has been born and raised Whiting,  NJ. Some of her favorite hobbies include being at the beach, surfing, day trips, being active and discovering new fun places to be. Rebekah will be graduating Manchester Township High School in June of 2022 and plans to attend Nyack College starting in the fall hoping to major in Psychology. She has 2 younger brothers Mason (16) and Lincoln (14) whoa re both very energetic and loud. Her Parents are Darin and Kelly they are very fun and loving and Rebekah feels very lucky to have such great parents.

BEST ADVICE: ” Model a positive and encouraging attitude, it will help if a task seems challenging to the player.”

WHY DO YOU WORK FOR SOCCER SHOTS?: ” I work for Soccer Shots because there are so many great people that are a part of the company and it is always fun on Soccer Island!”

Vonnie Tursi

Coach

Coach Vonnie has been born and raised in New Jersey. Vonnie has 30 years of experience as a preschool teacher, Assistant Coach and a mom most importantly. Some of her favorite activities include hanging out with her grown kids, photography, hiking, and walking the beach. She has a degree in Psychology, focused on early childhood development. Vonnie’s Husband’s name is Frank and she has 3 kids they are Matt (31), Ashlynne (24) and Sean (22).

BEST ADVICE: “Routine, Repetition and consistency is key to learning any new skill. Be patient!”

WHY DO YOU WORK FOR SOCCER SHOTS?: “I work for soccer shots to expand my teaching beyond classroom the ever important group sports.”

Brooke Kuhmichel

Assistant Coach

Coach Brooke has been born and raised in Whiting, New Jersey. Brooke has played club soccer since she was 6, she started at LMSA in Manchester and now plays for Jackson. Some of her favorite activities include going to the beach, going to the gym, surfing, eating, hanging with friends, and playing soccer. Brooke will be graduating Manchester Township High School in June of 2022 and plans to attend college in the fall. She has 2 siblings Hayley (28) and Billy (20) and her Mom is a nurse and her Dad is a manager at Verizon. Brooke has 2 dogs Rudy and Cooper and she has 3 cats Trey, George Lopez, and Virginia.

BEST ADVICE: “Keep at it ! Sports have helped me grow and develop as a person. I accredit my social skills to my participation in sports. Work outside of practice to improve your skill! Try your best always!”

WHY DO YOU WORK FOR SOCCER SHOTS?: ” I work for Soccer Shots because I wanted to give back to the community, which gave so much to me. I love playing soccer and want o spread my love and knowledge to the youth.”

Madison Mahaffey

Coach

Coach Madison was born and raised in Elkton, MD. Madison has played soccer and field hockey. Some of Coach Madison’s Favorite activities include fishing, riding quads, listening to music and going to gym. She is current getting her Associates degree in early childhood education. She is the youngest of 3 kids she has and older brother and sister.

BEST ADVICE: “To always encourage them and cheer them on. Never give up and try your best.”

WHY DO YOU WORK FOR SOCCER SHOTS?: “I really enjoy working with children, I think any job coaching or teaching children are very rewarding and I enjoy the opportunities and the experience for my future career.”

Stephanie Miller

Coach

Coach Stephanie was born and raised in Lancaster, PA. Stephanie has experience in soccer, basketball, tennis and coaching for NJTL (Tennis) for 8 years. Some of her favorite activities include running, working out, rowing, reading and going to the beach. She is a big sports fan, University of Delaware Football, Eagles, Ravens and Duke Basketball! She has her Bachelors Degree from the University of Delaware and her Masters of Education in Therapeutic Recreation from Temple University. She has a wonderful family she is very grateful for Rick (Dad) and Debbie(Mom), Emmie the dog and many wonderful Cousins, Aunts and Uncles

BEST ADVICE: ” Always Smile. Encourage your child to just have fun. They are learning social and play skills through soccer. If your child finishes the session with a smile on their face, it was a success. As long as your child tries their best and had fun, they did their job and you should be proud of them!”

WHY DO YOU WORK FOR SOCCER SHOTS?: “I would like to help promote social skills and learning through soccer. Seeing smiling faces on kiddos is the best thing in the world ! Helping children be their best and have fun is priceless.”

Employment Opportunities

If you have a passion for positively impacting youth through sports, visit our employment portal to view Soccer Shots job opportunities.