Meet the Team

The DC Way team is dedicated to providing a fun and enriching soccer experience for children of all ages and levels. Each valuable member of the team contributes to the unique culture that is DC Way. The members of our team strive to accomplish our mission by exhibiting strong characteristic and holding our values. DC Way is based on a culture of honesty, fairness, expertise, and a passion for soccer and coaching.

 
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Denis Chekuristov

Founder & Program Director

Denis comes from a long tradition of soccer. His father, a professional player, started teaching Denis soccer as soon as he could walk. He also comes from a tradition of education. His mother has taught school for over 25 years. Denis went through Volgar Gazprom FC youth academy system, played successfully on the collegiate level, was one of the first people playing futsal in his city Astrakhan, Russia. He holds a National Soccer Coaching License for ages 8-12 years old and Coerver Coaching Youth Diploma and regularly attends seminars to improve his coaching skills.

Denis was voted the best sports coach of the 2016 and 2017 by Washington City Paper!

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Roman Kilishek

Chief Executive Officer

Roman fell in love with a game of soccer when he was a child and he believes it played a huge role in his life. Roman holds an MBA degree from George Mason University and brings with him extensive experience in finance and project management. His skills help DC Way be successful and have all day-to-day operations under control.

 
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Veronika Simon

Director of Operations

Veronika has extensive knowledge in finances and a degree in Business Administration. She has occupied leading positions in the field of hospitality and banking. Veronika dedicates a lot of her free time to volunteer activities in the DMV area and participates in fundraisers for sport and recreation grants for local youth. She has exceptional communication and strong organizational skills that helps her find common language with both kids & parents side as well as her teammates and effectively coordinate everyday coaching duties.

 
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Melis Bayraktaroglu

Marketing Manager

Melis is currently a student-athlete at the George Washington University, completing her Bachelor of Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing and a minor in Organizational Sciences. Growing up in Turkey, she has always been focused on tennis and competed in professional tournaments until  joining the varsity tennis team at GW.  Melis also volunteers her time to help reduce chronic homelessness and participates in other activities to give back to the community. Her past experiences in the field of marketing allowed her to gain great organizational and leadership skills that lead her to excel at coordinating our programs and other aspects of DC Way.

Our Coaches

 
Abdoul Aziz Diakite - Coach   Abdoul is highly experienced in coaching and mentoring young athletes. Through developing unique drills and skills, he challenges kids and young adults to help them advance and strengthen their soccer skills. In addition to coaching for DC Way since 2017, Abdoul has coached soccer at St. Albans School in Washington DC. During the 2017 season, he coached the Lower School and Freshman teams, before leading the school’s Junior Varsity team through and winning the 2018 IAC Championship. Prior to moving to DC, he spent over five years with the Nepean Hotspurs Soccer Club in Ottawa, Canada, where he not only played, but also assisted in coaching youth teams. During this time, he obtained his Soccer for Life coaching credentials from the Canadian Soccer Association. A native of Niger, Abdoul is also fluent in French.

Abdoul Aziz Diakite - Coach

Abdoul is highly experienced in coaching and mentoring young athletes. Through developing unique drills and skills, he challenges kids and young adults to help them advance and strengthen their soccer skills. In addition to coaching for DC Way since 2017, Abdoul has coached soccer at St. Albans School in Washington DC. During the 2017 season, he coached the Lower School and Freshman teams, before leading the school’s Junior Varsity team through and winning the 2018 IAC Championship. Prior to moving to DC, he spent over five years with the Nepean Hotspurs Soccer Club in Ottawa, Canada, where he not only played, but also assisted in coaching youth teams. During this time, he obtained his Soccer for Life coaching credentials from the Canadian Soccer Association. A native of Niger, Abdoul is also fluent in French.

Danillo Muniz - Coach   Danillo is from São Paulo, Brazil and and currently a student-athlete at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC).  He has played soccer over 10 years of pro academy in Brazil for numerous clubs.  The list of Danillo's achievements is remarkable: best scores of Paulista Association U13 in 2009; he broke the record for points in a single season for his high school in Virginia; first team all district and all conference in high school; and now he is a striker of the first UDC men’s soccer team to reach the NCAA national tournament.

Danillo Muniz - Coach

Danillo is from São Paulo, Brazil and and currently a student-athlete at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC).

He has played soccer over 10 years of pro academy in Brazil for numerous clubs.

The list of Danillo's achievements is remarkable: best scores of Paulista Association U13 in 2009; he broke the record for points in a single season for his high school in Virginia; first team all district and all conference in high school; and now he is a striker of the first UDC men’s soccer team to reach the NCAA national tournament.

Lavelle Cash - Assistant Coach   Lavelle, a DC Scores Alum, made soccer a major part of his life in 2014. He has obtained his U6-U8 U.S. Soccer grassroots license in 2018. He has played high school varsity soccer at Cesar Chavez PCS Parkside. Over 4 years, he has also participated in various leagues with District Sports. Lavelle currently plays with District Reign FC, but enjoys his coaching position with DC Way the most.

Lavelle Cash - Assistant Coach

Lavelle, a DC Scores Alum, made soccer a major part of his life in 2014. He has obtained his U6-U8 U.S. Soccer grassroots license in 2018. He has played high school varsity soccer at Cesar Chavez PCS Parkside. Over 4 years, he has also participated in various leagues with District Sports. Lavelle currently plays with District Reign FC, but enjoys his coaching position with DC Way the most.

Kelechi Iwuchukwu - Assistant Coach   Although Kelechi is currently studying mechanical engineering in the University of District of Columbia, he has endless passion and love for soccer. As a player, he has won numerous trophies and looks forward to winning more by learning from coaching young athletes at DC WAY. He is thrilled to see a younger generation interested in the game of soccer!

Kelechi Iwuchukwu - Assistant Coach

Although Kelechi is currently studying mechanical engineering in the University of District of Columbia, he has endless passion and love for soccer. As a player, he has won numerous trophies and looks forward to winning more by learning from coaching young athletes at DC WAY. He is thrilled to see a younger generation interested in the game of soccer!

 
Matthew Gillich - Coach   Coach Matthew loves working with kids! Developing a thirst for knowledge at a young age, Matthew soon discovered a passion for teaching and spreading knowledge. He has an obsession with being better than he was the day before and brings that drive and energy to every soccer session!  Besides his love of soccer and having a USSF National ‘E’ Coaching License he also received a Bachelors Degree of Music Education from West Virginia Wesleyan College & currently providing musical instruction at Kingsman Academy.

Matthew Gillich - Coach

Coach Matthew loves working with kids! Developing a thirst for knowledge at a young age, Matthew soon discovered a passion for teaching and spreading knowledge. He has an obsession with being better than he was the day before and brings that drive and energy to every soccer session!

Besides his love of soccer and having a USSF National ‘E’ Coaching License he also received a Bachelors Degree of Music Education from West Virginia Wesleyan College & currently providing musical instruction at Kingsman Academy.

Celeste Buss - Coach   Celeste has been with DC Way the longest out of all coaches, joining the team in 2014. Celeste is from DC and is currently studying at Old Dominion University majoring in Exercise Science and minoring in Coaching. Celeste has been playing soccer since she was 5 years old and coaching since 14 years old. She coaches because she loves the game and hopes to see it grow as a sport in the United States.

Celeste Buss - Coach

Celeste has been with DC Way the longest out of all coaches, joining the team in 2014. Celeste is from DC and is currently studying at Old Dominion University majoring in Exercise Science and minoring in Coaching. Celeste has been playing soccer since she was 5 years old and coaching since 14 years old. She coaches because she loves the game and hopes to see it grow as a sport in the United States.

Mark Kiwanuka - Assistant Coach

Mark Kiwanuka - Assistant Coach

Amalia Proper - Assistant Coach   Amalia has grown up in Washington, D.C. and is currently a DC high school sophomore. She has been playing soccer and futsal for 12 years and has been working with children in the community for about 6 years, including Coach Denis’ camps and development programs. She has been a part of DC Way since its beginning. She is CPR certified and a Grade 8 licensed soccer referee. Amalia is an experienced striker and goalkeeper, and has participated on local softball, track and field, and rowing teams. She believes soccer is an excellent sport for early athletic development, and that training should be a fun and learning experience! She is very thrilled to continue to be part of the growing DC Way team!

Amalia Proper - Assistant Coach

Amalia has grown up in Washington, D.C. and is currently a DC high school sophomore. She has been playing soccer and futsal for 12 years and has been working with children in the community for about 6 years, including Coach Denis’ camps and development programs. She has been a part of DC Way since its beginning. She is CPR certified and a Grade 8 licensed soccer referee. Amalia is an experienced striker and goalkeeper, and has participated on local softball, track and field, and rowing teams. She believes soccer is an excellent sport for early athletic development, and that training should be a fun and learning experience! She is very thrilled to continue to be part of the growing DC Way team!

 
Kelly Charette - Coach   For Kelly, sports have always been her passion since she was a little kid. She has been playing soccer and basketball since 7 years old and ultimately ended up receiving a collegiate Division II scholarship to play basketball at Bryant University in Rhode Island.  Kelly was an all area first team soccer goalie in high school in upstate New York. She has been coaching youth sports for over 15 years. She says "There is nothing I love more than giving back to sports, which gave so much to me". This past season she was selected as DC Way’s soccer coach of the season and she feels very strongly about the integrity and commitment of her recognition.

Kelly Charette - Coach

For Kelly, sports have always been her passion since she was a little kid. She has been playing soccer and basketball since 7 years old and ultimately ended up receiving a collegiate Division II scholarship to play basketball at Bryant University in Rhode Island.

Kelly was an all area first team soccer goalie in high school in upstate New York. She has been coaching youth sports for over 15 years. She says "There is nothing I love more than giving back to sports, which gave so much to me". This past season she was selected as DC Way’s soccer coach of the season and she feels very strongly about the integrity and commitment of her recognition.

Alyssa Yudelson - Coach and Travel Administrator   Alyssa was born and raised in her hometown of Rochester, NY. It was there that she developed her love of sports - ranging from lacrosse, basketball, tennis, cross country, and track. Her passion for sports continued to grow as she attended The George Washington University in Washington, DC. During this time, she played club lacrosse while she received her B.S. in Exercise Science in May of 2019. Throughout her collegiate career, she was able to pursue her love for community fitness and sports for kids by engaging in various experiences around the DC area. Alyssa continues this passion by giving kids the opportunity to participate in sports in a safe, positive environment, where they can learn the fundamentals. She's excited to be an active member of DC Way!

Alyssa Yudelson - Coach and Travel Administrator

Alyssa was born and raised in her hometown of Rochester, NY. It was there that she developed her love of sports - ranging from lacrosse, basketball, tennis, cross country, and track. Her passion for sports continued to grow as she attended The George Washington University in Washington, DC. During this time, she played club lacrosse while she received her B.S. in Exercise Science in May of 2019. Throughout her collegiate career, she was able to pursue her love for community fitness and sports for kids by engaging in various experiences around the DC area. Alyssa continues this passion by giving kids the opportunity to participate in sports in a safe, positive environment, where they can learn the fundamentals. She's excited to be an active member of DC Way!

Pablo Gaspar - Assistant Coach   Pablo is a student athlete at the University of the District of Columbia and has been playing soccer his entire life. Originally from Spain, he has demonstrated a high-level of performance by playing against teams like Madrid, Barcelona, and Valencia. Pablo states, that from his perspective, Spanish soccer is more competitive than American, and he has learnt a lot from his top end coaches. Pablo won the Spanish young championship and many regional championships. Last year, he also played the NCAA college soccer national championship. While simultaneously working on his professional soccer career, Pablo was also leading multiple kids soccer camps in the U.S., as well as in Spain.

Pablo Gaspar - Assistant Coach

Pablo is a student athlete at the University of the District of Columbia and has been playing soccer his entire life. Originally from Spain, he has demonstrated a high-level of performance by playing against teams like Madrid, Barcelona, and Valencia. Pablo states, that from his perspective, Spanish soccer is more competitive than American, and he has learnt a lot from his top end coaches. Pablo won the Spanish young championship and many regional championships. Last year, he also played the NCAA college soccer national championship. While simultaneously working on his professional soccer career, Pablo was also leading multiple kids soccer camps in the U.S., as well as in Spain.


DC Way has amazing coaches that have great skills and knowledge to pass on. At DC Way, our coaches teach in a unique way that develops essential soccer skills while allowing the kid to have fun. Learn why our coaches decided to join the DC Way team and what it means to coach the DC Way!