In 1989, Wilde launched Premier Soccer Academy, the first academy to be registered in Ontario. As Premier Soccer Academy flourished, enjoying success after success under Wilde’s leadership, his reputation and influence continued to grow in parallel.
By 2003, Wilde was appointed Head Coach of the professional side Hamilton Thunder, leading them to the CPSL Western Conference Championship in his first season at the helm.
In the following year 2004, Wilde was appointed as the Head Coach of the Toronto Lynx competing in USL Pro, the top North American professional soccer league at the time.
In support of the Lynx, the Oakville Blue Devils were also established by Wilde in 2005 and went on to win the CPSL National Championship in their lone season.
Wilde’s love for the sport was cultivated from an early age in the Greater Manchester area from which he hails. After having the opportunity to represent his country playing for England Schoolboys, Wilde continued his youth career in the Manchester United Academy, eventually playing for Manchester United Reserves. His career included playing for Shrewsbury Town, Burnley, Manchester United and Everton.
When his playing days came to an end, it was coaching that proved to be the spark for the next chapter of Wilde’s career. After joining the Lynx in 2004, Wilde enjoyed many successful years with the Lynx organization including establishing and eventually owning, with his good friend and partner Billy Steele, the Toronto Lynx Academy. In all, Wilde’s career with the Lynx included serving as Head Coach of the Toronto Lynx USL Pro side from 2004 to 2007, Head Coach of the Toronto Lynx USL/PDL team, and Academy Director of the Toronto Lynx Academy.
The Lynx youth academy was extremely successful under the guidance of Wilde and Steele, playing in the Super Y League in the United States from 2007 to 2014. In that span they went to seven Super Y League North American Finals, four Super20 North American Finals, while sending hundreds of players on to college scholarships, professional careers and national team success.
In 2015, Wilde and Steele re-established Oakville Blue Devils FC with a men’s team competing in League1 Ontario and immediately won the 2015 League1 Championship in their first year, as well as becoming 2015 Inter-Provincial Champions.
Success has followed success for Wilde, Steele and the Blue Devils with the men’s team winning the 2017 League1 Ontario Championship, making the club the first-ever League1 club in history to earn a berth in the Canadian Championship. The Blue Devils Academy was established in 2017, with the Blue Devils League1 women’s team making its debut the following year. The men’s, women’s and reserve teams all won the regular season championship in 2019, and the Academy has grown into one of the best in Canada. For his part, Wilde was named League1 Ontario Coach of the Year in 2017 and 2019 while still serving as the Head Coach of the Blue Devils Academy.
Having moved down to the Nuneaton area during his school years, the Canaries spotted him in junior football and signed him as an apprentice in 1971 aged just sixteen. Two years later he signed professional forms. His first team début was a baptism of fire - the 1973 East Anglian Derby against Ipswich Town at Carrow Road. It was in the earliest days of John Bond's reign as City manager, and keen to shake things up, he threw young Billy into the mix after good performances for the Reserves team. It almost worked - the small framed Scotsman hit the bar in the first half, giving Ted MacDougall the chance to hit home the rebound for a one
goal lead. Unfortunately Ipswich Town hit back after the break to win 2-1.
Billy played again three days later in the 1-1 Manchester City, but it was a difficult period at Carrow Road for a young professional to make his mark. His early professional career was marked by ups and downs. Eventually City fans started to see more and more signs of Steele's talents. The midfielder never had a hair out of place when he lined up at the start of a match, but always put in an industrious shift, and slowly his efforts were more appreciated.
The 1976-77 campaign was his real breakthrough season. Billy took his place alongside the exalted Martin Peters and the marvelous Colin Suggett, and increasingly played his part with neat touches and awareness. He missed a few games with niggling injuries but still managed 36 appearances in all competitions, scoring in the away defeats at Birmingham City and then at Everton. But in the very next game at Villa Park, tragedy struck. Billy Steele twisted his knee in a fall.
The incident ended his career as a professional player. The coming months saw four unsuccessful operations plus other numerous attempts at surgery to fix his injury. In the end he devastatingly had to call time on his career, aged just 24, with Norwich hosting a testimonial game with Norwich city playing England with guest players Bobby Moore, Jimmy Greaves and a no show George Best.
Following his playing career, Billy eventually moved to Canada in 2001, and in 2004 returned to the game as Assistant Coach with the Toronto Lynx Soccer Club. His son Aaron was a schoolboy player at Norwich in 2001, but also emigrated to Canada.
Alongside his good friend and coaching partner Duncan Wilde, Billy helped to steer the Lynx to many years of success in USL Pro, USL/PDL and helping to establish the Toronto Lynx Academy.
In 2015, Billy and Duncan re-established the Blue Devils as a League1 Ontario men’s team, enjoying incredible success including the 2015 League1 Championship in their first year, as well as becoming 2015 Inter-Provincial Champions.
Success has followed success for Billy, Duncan and the Blue Devils with the men’s team winning the 2017 League1 Ontario Championship, making the club the first-ever League1 club in history to earn a berth in the Canadian Championship. The Blue Devils Academy was established in 2017, with the Blue Devils League1 women’s team making its debut the following year. The men’s, women’s and reserve teams all won the regular season championship in 2019, and the Academy has grown into one of the best in Canada.
Each year, Billy still travels with Academy teams and returns to his beloved Norwich to play matches and experience a proper football Sunday at Carrow Road.
"When the Sun Comes Out in Norwich"
Sung by Billy Steele
Words and Music by Peter Monk © 2012
In his time at St. James’ Park he was part of a club playing Champions League matches against the likes of Inter Milan and Barcelona. But it wasn’t all matches at the San Siro and Camp Nou. He had several loan spells to lower league sides before becoming an automatic on the team sheet. Even then, that didn’t come until he moved on to Newcastle’s arch-rivals Sunderland. Caldwell’s career trajectory was never straight to the top, and they rarely ever are. Steven can speak to the agony of relegation, and the absolute thrill of captaining his Burnley side to Premier League promotion in front of 90,000 fans at Wembley. Along the way, Caldwell managed to find time for 12 Scotland International Caps in two World Cup Qualification rounds before ending his career captaining Toronto FC.
Now that he has hung up his boots, and he’s allowed to plot out his own future, he wants to use his experience to help a next-generation cut their own path. He has been named to the Canadian Men’s National Team as an Assistant Coach and joined Blue Devils FC in the early stages to help build the organization. There was no secret to his success. Determination and work ethic is what got him as far as he did.
“We want to improve the entire program not just tactically and technically, but psychologically as well - teaching these young players across Ontario what it really means to be a professional football player. How much intensity it takes in training, and how much focus and dedication is needed.”
Part of Steven’s decision to come on board with Blue Devils FC was because of the ambitious group that he will be working with. “I am joining an already successful team of qualified and experienced individuals in Duncan, Billy and Shen and I will look to lend my support in all areas of the soccer club.”
Blue Devils FC Head Coach Duncan Wilde is a product of first the City and then United Academies in his native Manchester. His counterpart on the touchline is another Scotsman – Billy Steele, who plied his trade with Norwich City in the ’70s. Caldwell believes it is the sum of that whole which will work together in the clubs efforts to provide young athletes in Southern Ontario with the greatest possible opportunities.
“Through our vast list of contacts both in North America and Europe and some unique ideas in grassroots soccer, we hope to take an already outstanding program even higher and become a leader in soccer throughout Canada.”
While Steven’s connections from his playing days will be an asset to the team, possibly his greatest contributions will happen in the boardroom. Upon his retirement from playing the game, Steven moved into the role of Director of Corporate Development with Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment. “My experience at Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment allowed me into all sides of the game, not just the playing side and the technical side of it. Obviously, a lot of my work was with partnerships, ticket sales, community, everything that goes into Toronto FC, and the successes that they’ve had.”
All of these experiences will prove valuable as Blue Devils FC continues to build the organization in Ontario and beyond. “I’m very excited about what’s to come. We have a long road ahead of us, and a lot of difficult jobs, but we feel we are creating something very, very unique in Canada.”
With the explosion of the women’s game in Canada and around the world, Natalie’s focus and drive is helping to propel the Blue Devils women’s program to new heights by shaping the development and careers of a new generation of young players.
Bukovec was named the Head Coach of the Ryerson University Rams women's soccer program in December of 2018 after having served as interim head coach for the 2018 season. Prior to her stint as interim head coach, she served as an assistant coach at Ryerson for two seasons.
Bukovec played five seasons at McMaster University from 2010-15 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, specializing in Social Psychology, and a Certificate in Leadership and Organization. She has also recently completed a certificate in Human Resources Management and is now working towards obtaining a Master’s in Coaching and Sport Performance.
After her university career, Bukovec played in semi-professional leagues in North America such as League 1 and W-League and was a member of the Croatian women's national team player pool.
Bukovec's coaching career began in 2015 as an assistant coach at McMaster before joining Ryerson's team in 2016. She hold a Canadian National B License.
In 2018, Bukovec was one of five female coaches selected across Ontario to be a part of the Ontario Female Mentorship Program run by the Canadian Soccer Association.
Outside of her roles with the Blue Devils and Ryerson University, Bukovec also works with the Ontario Provincial Projects with the 2005 girls age group as an assistant.
Natalie’s passion for the game and for developing Canada’s next generation of young female players is an inspiration to everyone at the Blue Devils who has the opportunity to work alongside her and play under her guidance.
Brett started his professional coaching career in 1995 when appointed Head Coach for the Nashville Metros in the United Soccer League’s A League. Other Head Coaching appointments within the USL included the Atlanta Silverbacks, Lincoln Brigade, Southwest Florida Manatees, Hamilton FC, K-W United and Hampton Roads Mariners (Assistant Coach). Brett also has extensive experience coaching women’s programs including Head Coach appointments for the Toronto Lady Lynx and K-W United competing in the United Soccer League’s W League. Brett also served six years as Head Coach for the Women’s program at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.
Before moving to Canada Brett spent 16 years coaching in the United States enjoying positions such as State of Tennessee Director of Coaching, Olympic Development Program Regional Coach, USSF State Coaching Instructor for Tennessee, Nebraska, Virginia, Texas and Georgia.
Brett has also been a Coerver Coaching Licensee since 1994. The Coerver teaching method is recognized as the ‘Worlds #1 Skills Teaching Method’ and supported by FIFA and many leading clubs and associations around the globe.
Brett is passionate about player development and has enjoyed watching many of his players go on to play at the international, professional and collegiate levels. Some have also gone on to coach at a senior level including National and MLS professional teams.
Brett’s coaching credentials include the following:
Canadian National A License
United States Soccer federation National A License
UEFA B Coaching License
National Soccer Coaches Association of America Advanced National Diploma
National Soccer Coaches Association of America Director of Coaching Diploma
Brett’s energy, passion and leadership are one of the cornerstones of the Blue Devils program. Widely respected as one of the best technical minds in the game, Brett is focused on ensuring the Blue Devils is one of the best development programs for young Canadian players in the country.
Kim’s career began in 1999 in Manager roles at Dixie Soccer Club (1999-2004, Manager U9-U13) and Erin Mills Soccer Club (2005-007, Manager U13-U15 OYSL). In 2005, Kim then assumed the role of Head of Administration for the South Region Soccer League and Peel Halton Men’s Soccer League. For two years until 2007, she was responsible for the financial accounting, discipline, scheduling and reporting the Board of Directors of what was, at the time, the largest league in Ontario.
In 2007, Kim moved to the Toronto Lynx Soccer Club in order to oversee the daily operations of the club. Working alongside Duncan Wilde and Billy Steele, Kim handled virtually every aspect of club operations – financial accounting, marketing, website development and maintenance, travel management for Lynx teams playing in the Super Y League as well as for college showcases and tours, uniform ordering, field acquisitions, registrations, and the overall supervision of all the Toronto Lynx teams, including the club’s teams competing in the W League team and PDL. Kim also served as the primary liaison between the Toronto Lynx and Toronto District Soccer Association and Ontario Soccer.
In 2015, when Duncan and Billy established the Oakville Blue Devils League1 Ontario men’s team, Kim stepped into oversee the daily operations. Since then, she has been instrumental in the growth of Blue Devils FC, helping to manage the Blue Devils Academy and the League1 Men’s and Women’s teams, while serving as the primary Operations Manager for the Club’s Competitive division.