The trainer and entrepreneur focuses on helping people become powerful in all his ventures.
Paul Torres founded soccer training company Next Star Soccer with a service-minded purpose: helping people grow into the best versions of themselves. We caught up with Torres to talk soccer in D.C. and how else he gives back to the people of our city.
District Fray: Why were you inspired to start Next Star Soccer in D.C.?
Torres: After playing at the University of Maryland and professionally overseas for six years, I felt it was the most natural path to return to the game after getting involved briefly in commercial real estate. After my playing career, it just felt right to step away and then find myself involved in the game in some capacity. I’m fascinated by human potential and interested in the underdog story. I feel like I’m in the position to help people develop on and off the field.
Why is being club-neutral important to your ethos?
The end goal of Next Star is to develop powerful human beings. Soccer, like any sport, is a way for people to express themselves and develop life skills. Even thinking about some of the stories of players I’ve worked with gives me goosebumps. Players like Ted Ku Dipietro scoring winning goals in the 98th minute for DC United are the moments that make the whole experience worth it. Griffin Yow, currently playing in Belgium, one of the top five leagues in Europe; Andi Sullivan, co-captain of the Washington Spirit and starting midfielder for USWNT; Christian Fletcher, high schooler on the DC United first team and Aaron Heard on the under 17 USNMT. Helping people is what this program is about.
Any hot takes about D.C. teams?
I don’t know much about other sports, but should start watching more. I went to a Caps game recently and thought that was really fun. The fighting made my night and I think all sports could do with a little one-on-one boxing.
How else do you give back to D.C.?
I sometimes cook for and feed the homeless with the School of Life Ashram on Sundays. I also will be partnering with Howard University to provide free soccer training once a week for kids in the D.C. area who can’t afford extra training or club soccer. I also love being a partner in some of the hottest hospitality concepts in the city like the Seven Reasons Group. We are excited to continue to expand with concepts in D.C. and Surreal Park in Crystal City Amazon HQ2. Chicken + Whiskey is thriving with an expansion into Clarendon, giving me an excuse to explore Northern Virginia more.
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