Our Team

Board Members

Darius Shirzadi, Executive Director/Co-Founder 

Global Accounts Manager, Cooley Group, Pawtucket, RI

Darius is the former director of Latino and Cape Verdean Community Affairs with the New England Revolution professional soccer team in Foxboro, Massachusetts. A former professional, college soccer player, coach, scout, and general manager, Darius is fluent in Spanish. He has coached soccer in the middle schools and high schools of Providence and Pawtucket and is well known by Rhode Island’s minority communities, as well as by businesses and the media. Darius is responsible for overall management of Project GOAL’s business affairs.  Darius is a co-founder and involved since 2002.  

Peter Whealton – Chairman of the Board/Co-Founder 
CEO/Chairman, CORE Business Technologies, East Providence, RI

Former president and COO of Compressent Corporation, a publicly held firm, Peter has been active on many committees including development, finance, consulting in business affairs. Peter is a co-founder of Project GOAL and has been involved with planning and executing the program since 2002. 

Javier Centeno, Director of Soccer/Co-Founder
Youth Supervisor, Central Falls School Department

​Inducted into the New England Soccer Hall of Fame in 2015, Javier is a former professional soccer player and was recently named RI Boys Youth Soccer Coach of the Year. Javier is fluent in Spanish, some Portuguese and Creole, he is a member of the Central Falls Athletic Hall of Fame and is the former assistant men’s soccer coach at Providence College. A native of Colombia, Javier grew up in Central Falls and knows firsthand the difficulties and challenges Project GOAL participants face in the public school system. Javier has been involved since 2002 and is a Co-Founder of Project GOAL. 

James Diossa, Current Mayor of Central Falls

​Mayor Diossa has been a friend and supporter of Project GOAL since entering into office.  He has been a keynote speaker and participant in Project GOAL fundraising events and is a key link between the program, city, and school department.  In 2019, the Mayor honored the program hosting "Project GOAL Day" at City Hall.

Antone Botelho, Owner Antone Botelho Photography, Attleboro, MA

​Antone has been the programs photographer for all of its activities and events since 2010.  Antone has been there to take photos of classroom instruction, field practice, tournaments, and fundraising events documenting the program's progress and the many students who have come through the program.

Alex MitchellCo-Owner of Meridian Custom Homes, Providence, RI

With more than 25 years' experience building exceptional custom homes throughout Massachusetts, Rhode Island and

Connecticut, Alex offers business expertise in strategic planning for sustainability and expansion of Project GOAL programming.

Alex plays in an adult league and has been assisting in planning and executing our GOAL Cup corporate soccer tournament

since 2008.


Nelson Rego, Vice President of Quality & Reliability and Technical Services at Taco Comfort Solutions, Cranston, RI

With a passion for soccer, Nelson's soccer experience spans from his high school and college days to his work with the RI

Stingrays in charge of game day media and his work with the New England Revolution for 10 years in game day operations.

Nelson has been a supporter of Project GOAL since 2007 and prior to joining the Board of Directors in 2017, he served on the

Board of Advisors since 2011.

Tom Bigelow, Co-Founder Bigelow Fleming, South Easton, MA

An avid soccer fan, Tom adds expertise and advice on developing business models and the research required for planning and

maintaining the mission of the organization. Tom and his family have been volunteering at the program since 2010, with Tom

joining our Board of Advisors in 2011 prior to joining the Board of Directors in 2017.

Craig Tornberg, Partner - CT International Sport Consulting Group, Boston MA

Formally the General Manager & Vice President of Business Development for the New England Revolution from 2004-2008,

Craig’s extensive ties to the community and experience working with youth and other non-profit organizations have provided

great value to Project GOAL since 2006.

Rocio Escalante, Principal Supply Chain Manager, Boston Scientific, Boston, MA

​Rocio has been a member of the Board since 2017 and has been a major driver in connecting the program with companies who participate in our GOAL Cup fundraising events and items for our auction.  She is from Mexico originally and has also been successful in connecting the program with other Latino owned businesses.

Maureen Johnson, Owner of Monarch Homes, Providence, RI

Maureen joined the board in 2019.

Nelson Teixiera, VP Online Banking, BankNewport, Newport, RI

Nelson is the newest member of the Board joining in 2020.

Administration, Teachers and Coaches

Opal Alves, Director of Administration & Grant Writing / Lead Teacher

With over 15 years of teaching experience and as one of the original two teachers of Project GOAL in 2004, Opal has been working with the program over the years as a teacher, SSAT program lead, Monitoring & Evaluations manager, Lead Teacher and Curriculum Developer. Her combined experience working in the Finance industry as an Underwriter with MetLife and later years in Education as a teacher at Community Preparatory School and then as Foreign Language Teacher in South Korea, led her to assuming the Director of Administration and Grant Writing position at Project GOAL in 2016.  Opal's business sense and knowledge of the educational system has led to new directions and expansions within the program.  

Dennis Skehan, SSAT Program Lead and Coordinator / Teacher
Retired college professor and software developer, Dennis develops and facilitates the SSAT preparation program assisting students in applying to private schools. Dennis also challenges students in an innovative STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) curriculum based project, with students designing and developing a Soccer Math board game with the goal of creating an online app.  

Project GOAL Teachers & Coaches
Certified / Accredited Rhode Island Teachers: Opal Alves (Lead Teacher), Bryce DuBois, Dennis Skehan, Katrina Pillay, Patti Cuttle,  Sarina Lake, Patricia Santos 

Certified Coaches 

Darius Shirzadi, Javier Centeno (Former Pro-Soccer Player), Massamba Sow,  Brent Alves, Bryce DuBois and Seyi Solanke