Meet our Academy Coaches

Shaun McBrien

Shaun is the Director of Coaching for NGS and is an accomplished coach holding a number of high-level coaching licenses, including NSCAA Advanced National Diploma and UEFA B License. Shaun graduated from the University of Ulster in his native Northern Ireland with a BSc Sports Coaching and Development Degree after playing soccer at various levels including club, high school and college. Before moving to the USA in 2009 Shaun worked for the Irish Football Association coaching in schools, communities and at club level. Prior to joining Newton Girls Soccer, Shaun was the Academy Director and South East Regional Director at PTUSA, a professional soccer coaching organization on the South Shore, MA and was head coach of several girls and boys teams within this club. Shaun was awarded the MA Futsal Girls’ Coach of the Year 2015.

Ilana Albert

Ilana is attending Northeastern University in pursuit of a PhD in physics. She graduated from Williams College in 2021 with a BA in physics and philosophy. While there she played on the varsity soccer team, winning two national championships (’17, and ’18), and was named to the NCAA DIII all-tournament team (’18). Her season was cut short during her junior year due to a torn ACL, but she was voted senior captain in 2020. Ilana is still a passionate soccer player. She currently plays in Boston leagues and serves as the Tufts Women’s Soccer Assistant Coach. Her favorite parts of soccer are the tactical details, the technical discipline, and the competitive energy. She has always wanted to coach and is excited to continue working with the Newton Girls Academy.

Taylor Beckingham

Taylor has a strong love for the game of soccer and has been involved in the sport from an early age. Taylor graduated from University of Richmond in International Studies, during which time he lived in both Spain and Argentina, where he played for his University Club and on semi-professional teams. Taylor has coached both Academy and Development Academy teams. He also thoroughly enjoys his role as a pro trainer in other areas within NGS. Coach Taylor utilizes a creative coaching style, he believes that if his players enjoy their training sessions, they will inevitably markedly improve their game and their confidence. Taylor was born in Boston, Massachusetts and he has dual citizenship in the US and in the UK. Taylor has a US Soccer National D License and is working towards obtaining more advanced coaching licenses.

Nicole Brill

Nicki is an 8th grade Math teacher at the Fessenden School where she is the Assistant Coach of the Varsity soccer team in the fall, 7th grade basketball coach in the winter, and tennis coach in the spring. Nicki played Varsity soccer all four years in high school in Westport, CT at Staples High School. She went on to be a four-year starter at Bates College and was Captain her senior year. Nicki received her BA in Environmental Studies and Teacher Education at Bates. She also received her Masters in Education Management from King’s College London where she also played soccer and was MVP of the team in 2018.

Floyd Butler

Floyd was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He earned a B.A. in English and a MA in Education from The Pennsylvania State University before becoming a head coach for Futbol Club Pittsburgh and Penn United, a nonprofit community soccer organization. Floyd moved to Boston and began coaching with NGS in 2014. Since joining the NGS family, Floyd has coached or assisted with Academy, Development Academy, and Travel teams across a variety of age groups. Floyd has also been the Newton South Boys Varsity Head Coach since 2020.  He currently has a US Soccer National D License and is working towards obtaining more advanced coaching licenses. Floyd also teaches 6th grade at Oak Hill Middle School. His playing experience and educational background are clearly illustrated in his coaching philosophy and style, which focuses predominantly on development and love for the game.

Kate Connolly

Kate coaches with the Academy teams and is a Pro Trainer for the Kindergarten/Grade 1 in the spring and fall. Kate is a litigation lawyer in Boston who grew up on the North Shore. She attended Austin Prep where she was a member of the Varsity Soccer, Ice Hockey, and Softball teams. She went on to play soccer at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia. In her spare time, Kate enjoys training for marathons (half and full) and spending time with her Maine Coon cat, Ragnar.

Jared Frankston

Jared grew up in Newton playing Town and Club Soccer before representing Newton South High School at the varsity level and going on to play varsity soccer at New York University’s Polytechnic Institute. Since graduating college, Jared has coached with the James Bede Soccer Academy – a premier soccer program for skill development – and Soccer Superstars, while working professionally as a Software Engineer. Jared continues to have a strong passion for the game and plays in local recreational leagues. When he is not coaching or playing soccer, he enjoys long walks with his cat, Baxter.   

Theresa Fuller

Theresa grew up playing high level club soccer in Rhode Island from an early age. She also played soccer at Brandeis University and represented the college in Rugby. Since graduating college in 2013, she has been a camp counselor, a volunteer for Needham’s YMCA soccer program, a volunteer for Girl Scouts, and continues to play soccer through multiple teams in BSSC’s intramural leagues. She worked for many years as an Emergency Room Technician and in Health Services Research. After graduating with her master’s in healthcare systems engineering, Theresa works in health services research for a company serving primary care doctors based out of D.C.

Alyssa Hansen

Alyssa is a 5th and 6th grade Spanish teacher at the Fessenden School where she coaches 6th grade soccer teams, cross-country skiing in the winter, and mountain biking in the spring. Alyssa went to Newton North High School, where she played on the Varsity soccer team for four years and was the captain of the team her senior year. She received her BA in Environmental Studies at the University of Vermont, where she played club lacrosse and intramural soccer. Alyssa has also worked at the Fessenden soccer camp for many years. In her free time, Alyssa likes to run, bike, hike, ski, read, and spend time with her dog and family.

Owen Jones

Owen is the Varsity Assistant Coach (since 2000) at Newton South, whose record is among the top five in the state over the past six years. Owen has been a professional trainer for numerous NGS teams since 2001 (earning MTOC champion and runner-up titles). Notably, he has coached the oldest Academy team with Caleb Thomson since 2011.

Haris Kuljancic

Haris was born in Bosnia and Herzegovina and grew up playing competitive soccer in Hartford, Connecticut. At Connecticut College, Haris played four years of club soccer, serving as the club president and growing the program for three years. Haris is excited to obtain additional coaching experience and soccer licenses. He currently holds a USSF ‘Grassroots’ Referee license and has officiated both adult and youth leagues in Boston since 2016. Currently, Haris is the Executive Director of Horizons at Dedham Country Day School, an academic enrichment after school and summer program for Boston and Dedham youth. Haris enjoys working with youth of all ages both in the classroom and on the soccer pitch. 

Sarah Giusti

Sarah graduated from Northeastern University, where she received a master’s degree in sports leadership.  Prior to Northeastern, Sarah attended Colby-Sawyer College in New Hampshire and was a member of the women’s soccer team.  Sarah has had many roles working in youth development including supporting students in special education at Newton North High School, serving as the Head Coach with SFC New England in Winchester, and managing tournaments and camps at 3d Lacrosse. She is currently the Belmont HS JV Girls Soccer Varsity Assistant Coach. Sarah holds a USSF Soccer Coaching E License and is trained as a Positive Coaching Alliance Double Goal Coach. 

Anna Mariani

Anna grew up in Newton and started playing soccer with NGS in 3rd grade. She went on to play with various club teams and the Newton North HS varsity team. During her senior year, her team won the State Championship and ranked #1 in the US with a record of 23-0. In 2020, NNHS inducted Anna and her team into their Athletic Hall of Fame. Anna played D1 soccer at Providence College. After graduating with a BS in Biology, Anna coached at North Smithfield HS in RI and then at Emmanuel College. While earning her Master’s of Public Health at BU and Harvard, she coached with FC Greater Boston Bolts and Charles River United SC. Anna coached the U9 Girls team through to U13 when they won the State Tournament and competed in the Regional Championship in PA. Anna spent many years refereeing and holds national coaching licenses. Anna approaches coaching with passion and knowledge of the game. She encourages creativity and hard work balanced with having fun and playing as a team.

Katie McLean

Katie has been a professional coach with NGS for over 10 years and managed the NGS Juniors program for almost as long. She was a member of the Newton North High School varsity soccer team before going on to play at Union College. She captained both teams during her senior seasons. She completed her graduate degree at Tufts University School of Medicine and currently works as a Physician Assistant at Dana Farber Cancer Institute. In her spare time, she enjoys playing co-ed soccer with BSSC with her former high school and college teammates and teaching her young niece how to play!

Carli Miller

Carli was born and raised in North Carolina. She graduated from Elon University in 2019 with a BS in Business Analytics & Statistics. While completing her studies, Carli coached multiple U10 girls travel teams for the North Carolina Fusion soccer club. Before coaching she played for the North Carolina Fusion club within the Elite Clubs National League (ECNL). She is still playing 11v11 soccer around Boston with the Eastern Women’s Soccer League in the spring and fall.

Kathleen Siciak

Katie grew up in Newton and started playing soccer at 5 years old. She played club soccer with several club teams as well as the Newton South HS Varsity Team. During her senior year, she was ranked the #1 player in the Dual County League and made the All-State team. In 2016, she was the youngest athlete to be inducted into the Newton South HS Athletic Hall of Fame. Katie walked on to the Division I soccer team at the University of New Hampshire but decided to focus on her academics while continuing to play club and intramural sports. After Katie graduated UNH, she pursued coaching soccer at Newton South HS and became the JV head coach. She continues to play soccer in the Eastern Mass Women’s Soccer League and enjoys running, hiking and playing with her dog.

Elizabeth “Lily” Stowell

Lily is the Assistant Director of Coaching for NGS. Within this role, she coaches an Academy team and manages the Kindergarten/Grade 1 Juniors Program. She was a member of the Varsity Soccer team at Wellesley High School and played for NEFC in Spring 2009, the club’s first official season. She went on to play soccer at Wellesley College and captain the team her senior year.  Lily is a graduate student at Northeastern University in personal health informatics. In her spare time, she still loves to play soccer on various teams through BSSC and EMWSL.

Caleb Thomson

Caleb is the Enrollment Manager & Director of Admissions at The Fessenden School. He is a graduate of Fessenden and has been living and working at the day and junior boarding school for the past 34 years. Caleb played High School soccer at Suffield Academy where he was selected to the All-State team and then went on to play collegiate soccer at Ohio Wesleyan University where he was named to the All-Ohio team in his senior year. He has been coaching the boys’ varsity soccer team at Fessenden for the past 27 years and is also the Director of the Fessenden School Co-Ed Soccer Camp. Caleb was the Head Coach for his older daughter’s Newton Girls Soccer U14 team which won their BAYS Division and the Massachusetts Tournament of Champions (MTOC) in 2011 while coaching with Owen Pennant Jones.

Justin Traxler

Justin – JT to his friends – developed a joy for coaching in 2013 when he took “the call” from NGS to coach. After coaching both his daughters’ teams K-8, JT expanded his soccer experience to include referee (grassroots & MIAA), player (GK), and NGS President (2017-23). He also founded a grassroots advocacy program that pushed Newton to start investing in their Youth Athletic Fields.

JT is dedicated to using positive coaching approaches that help players learn in a way that enables them to both develop efficiently and deepen their appreciation for athletics. The past two years, he has been an assistant coach (alongside the former BHS Varsity coach) for a Chestnut Hill Sports Club U18 team.  He also provides goalie training and has been successful bringing his hands-on experience as a keeper to sessions. He currently has a US Soccer National D License.

JT has lived in Newton over 20 years where he is happily married to his college sweetheart, Regina and raised his two wonderful daughters Mads (16) and Jessie (19). When he’s not on the soccer pitch, he enjoys saltwater fly fishing and snowboarding.

Liz Zhou

Liz is a recent graduate of Wellesley College, where she earned a BA in biology and Chinese. At Wellesley, she captained the varsity soccer team her junior and senior year and won numerous accolades including NEWMAC second-team twice, NEWMAC defensive athlete of the week, and NCAA DIII Region second team. Prior to her collegiate career, she was part of the McLean ECNL team that ended the season undefeated and won national championships in 2018. Nowadays, she plays co-ed soccer with BSSC as she works towards entering veterinary school. She has coached boys soccer before but is excited and grateful for this opportunity to coach and inspire NGS players!