Callum Lester’s British accent belongs in a Guy Ritchie movie, but his whistle has a cowboy drawl.
The former University of Lincoln (England) soccer captain and longtime soccer instructor settled his roots in the Cowboy Capital of the World this May after a coaching career carried him across 15 different U.S. states.
Lester moved to Oakdale and accepted a position as director of coaching for the Oakdale Youth Soccer League and its new Oakdale Soccer Academy. He has been the driving force for the multi-week soccer academies that combine the talent of area youth with the coaching philosophies of Oakdale’s brightest soccer minds.
The academy is currently in the midst of an 11-week fall program at T.L. Davis Park with around 500 players (between the ages 3 and 10) and around 40 volunteer coaches.
So far, the progressive format of instruction and scrimmages has been a huge success, Lester said.
“Oakdale Youth Soccer League has a curriculum which over the course of the season covers all the main technical aspects of the game (passing, control, shooting, dribbling…etc.),” Lester explained. “The coaches work through the topics with the players, so over the course of any season all of the facets of the game are taught.”
When the academy ends, OYSL will move into competitive tryouts for older players before a nine-week academy begins this spring and is followed by summer camps.
Lester said that the key focus of the league surrounds the development of Oakdale’s soccer youth. His instruction has seen a warm welcome from Oakdale players, parents and coaches.
“Oakdale has been great,” Lester said. “The people are very friendly, and I have been made to feel welcome and a part of the community.”
Lester said his goal is to help develop the young players, bringing them on board with what has become an increasingly competitive sport in the area.
The Oakdale Soccer Academy was sponsored in part by a $500 donation from Steves Chevrolet, continuing its commitment to youth soccer.