Meet the Program Staff

Jason Sisneros

Jason Sisneros is the founder of Rising Star Academy. He created this program after having spent over half his life coaching youth, high school and college soccer in the U.S. The form UNC women’s soccer assistant coach and recruiting coordinator, he was part of the teams that won the 2012 NCAA National Championship and the 2013 ACC regular season title as well as a College Cup appearance in 2016. Through Rising Star's International Program, Jason currently works with professional and youth academies from around the world, creating opportunities for both international and domestic players.

Josh Schirmer

Josh is Rising Star's Director of International Operations. He is also the assistant coach of the UEFA Women's Champions League and Czech First Division powerhouse, AC Sparta Prague. Josh has been working with Jason for 7 years and is a founding member of Rising Star Academy. He speaks fluent English, Japanese, Portuguese, some Czech and French and is an experienced world traveler, having been to over 150 countries. Josh will be a primary supporter in the Prague leg of the trip.

Mirek Holan

Mikek is originally from Prague, where he lives today. He lived in the United States for 17 years, where he attended university and met his wife. Mirek and Josh have been close friends for many years, and he will help coordinate with Jason and Josh on the Prague leg of the trip. He speaks fluent English, Czech, some German, some French and some Italian and is an experienced world traveler and local expert in the Czech Republic. 

Michele Lapenna

Michele (pronounced, Mc Kella) is Rising Star Academy's European Program Director. He is an experienced travel guide for college and professional sports teams. Jason met Michele through his coordination of a UNC women's soccer trip to Munich in 2011. Michele is currently a professional sports conditioning coach in Bremen, Germany. He also teaches at University of Bremen, as well as working as an assistant coach with BSV S-W Rehden, a fourth division men's professional soccer club. When not directly coaching, Michele scouts for several women's professional Bundesliga teams including; Bayern Munich, Werder Bremen and Potsdam to name a few. Michele speaks fluent English, German and Italian.

Toby Esche

Toby is originally from Bremen, Germany. He played college soccer at the University of North Carolina and now plays starting center back for BSV S-W Rehden in the German fourth division. Toby will help support Michele in the Munich and Milan legs of the trip.

Lindsay Sisneros

Lindsay is Jason's wife, and will be a chaperone for the trip. Lindsay will be there to help the players as needed, and coordinate all of the meals and nutrition plans for the girls during this trip. Aside from being a mother of two, one 14-year old daughter, and one 10-year old son, she is a champion baker, substitute teacher and has been involved in soccer since 2001, when she met Jason and for some reason stuck around all these years! 

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