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
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.
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.
McMillan was born in Glasgow and began his career with Rangers FC. He progressed from the Academy into a full-time first team player at Rangers at the age of 17, playing with the club from 2007-2012. Some of the highlights from his playing career include:
Won the Scottish Cup in 2008
Partick Thistles Scottish First Division League winner 2012-2013
Team of the season with Dunfermline Athletic/Partick Thistle 2012-2013
Rangers Youth Cup Double U19s winner 2008
Captain of Rangers youth teams at all youth levels
Capped at all youth levels from Under 15s to 21 with the Scottish FA
As his playing career began to wind down, McMillan developed a keen interest in coaching and worked to build his experience, including:
OTS Academy, Technical Director
Rangers, Shadow Academy Coach
Caledonian Braves, Support U20S Coach
Charlton FC, Shadow Academy Coach
Bromley FC, Shadow Academy Coach
McMillan is now an important part of the Blue Devils FC technical staff and brings his wealth of experience to help support the development of all Blue Devils players as they progress through the development pathway.
In the early 1980s, Glenn played with York University where he was named first team CIAU All Canadian. Following his graduation in the late eighties, Glenn was signed with Clube Desportivo Nacional da Madeira in Portugal. This team won promotion to Primeira Liga in Portugal to play against the likes of Sporting Lisbon, FC Porto, and Benfica. Nacional is famously known as the club where a young Cristiano Ronaldo began his youth career. Glenn played first team games over the course of three seasons with Nacional. Coached by Paolo Atori, who went on to coach Benfica, Glenn played with famous players such as William who also played center back for Benfica.
Following his pro career in Portugal, Glenn moved back to Canada where he played with the likes of Dynamo Latino (formerly Toronto Blizzard), and the North York Rockets, two professional clubs in Canada of the 1980s.
When his playing career ended, Glenn turned to coaching, helping to shape young goalkeepers. He has has coached with Duncan and Billy for more than 15 years, starting with the Toronto Lynx and then subsequently joining the Blue Devils to help launch the club. Glenn is the Club's Head Goalkeeper Coach and primarily works with the first-team keepers for League1 Ontario men’s and women’s teams, while also lending his expertise to the Academy players and helping to mentor the Blue Devils Academy coaches.
As a former Scholarship Director for the Toronto Lynx, Glenn has helped to place hundreds of youth players into scholarship programs in the USA and Canada. Many of his former goalkeepers today are playing around the world in professional leagues.
To his friends, Glenn is known as Mr. Fish, as he imports seafood products for Aquastar Canada.
Glenn has four children, all of whom played with the Toronto Lynx/ Blue Devils FC, including previous Club Captains Taylor McNamara and his younger brother Konner McNamara, both League1 Champions who led the Blue Devils to the first-ever berth in history for a League1 Ontario team in the Canadian Championship.
Soccer has always been a part of Brassor’s life since she was young, starting at the Scarborough United Girls Soccer Club where she played for eight years, and eventually leading to her playing with the Oakville Impax at the World Masters Games. She is an experienced coach and certified personal trainer and has built a remarkable presence in the women’s game.
Her passion to grow the women’s game extends beyond her playing and coaching into every facet of the game. She has served on the Ontario Soccer Association Women’s Committee Executive, eventually serving as the committee’s Chair in 2014-15 and has authored a book aimed at young female soccer players Reaching for the Rings: A Young Girl’s Guide to Growing Her Game.
Her relentless energy and drive helped her to successfully launch Future Girls Soccer in 2015 – a soccer development program for young girls led by an all-female coaching staff – in a market crowded with major competitors and where, at the time, only 2% of its leaders were women
As the Director of the Blue Devils Junior Girls Academy, Brassor’s extensive experience both on and off the pitch as a player, coach and entrepreneur has been a consistent source of inspiration for all of the young female players that have a chance to play for her.
Although not making it as a pro, Jeff played for many years at the highest level of semi-pro soccer with clubs including, Barnet and Ilford FC where he played in the last-ever Amateur Cup Final to be played at Wembley stadium.
When he retired from playing, Jeff quickly rose through the coaching ranks and became a UEFA A license coach, before progressing to an English FA Coach Educator. On achieving this status, Jeff was the first appointed coach of the David Beckham Academy when it opened in London, and was recruited to return to Chelsea FC as Head Coach of the U-13 Academy team. He remained at Chelsea Academy for 10 years, and in the final year became the Head of International Youth Technical Development, where he travelled to the United States to oversee the growth and development of Chelsea’s affiliate partner clubs.
During this time, Jeff also founded the online coaching resource, Inside Soccer, which meant him traveling the world to work with major clubs including Inter Milan, Sporting Lisbon, Ajax, Flamengo, Santos, Boca Juniors, River Plate and Valencia. It also meant him introducing many of these club coaches to grassroots clubs in the USA & Canada – a project which he still continues to this day.
The rapid rise and growth of the game in the United States lured Jeff to leave Chelsea and remain in the USA for eight years, during which time he became the Technical Director of New York Soccer Club, working alongside Claudio Reyna, the former National Technical Director, before co-founding his own player development program, Next Gen USA.
Family ties eventually led Jeff to return to the UK, where he is now semi-retired, but working as a consultant to pass on a lifetime’s knowledge and experience of working alongside some of the world’s most talented youth development coaches.
Houchen secured her place in Oakville sports history when she was inducted into the Oakville Sports Hall of Fame in 2007. Houchen, the first black female to be inducted into the Hall, started playing soccer when she was 15 in her hometown of Scarborough, Ont. She's been living and breathing the game ever since.
While Houchen's honours and awards are impressive and well deserved, what is most fascinating about this woman is her ability to pass on her love for the game and inspire others.
Since her playing career ended, she has put her time, energy, blood, sweat and tears into developing the next generation of young, aspiring female players.
She's one of a handful of female coaches in the province to have earned a Provincial B-Level coaching licence from Ontario Soccer, has won OYSL Coach of the Year, and continues to apply and pass along her knowledge of the game to players and coaches.
"Soccer has been such a strong force for me," she said. "It's always been an important and large part of my life, and it always will be."
Those that have played, coached, or trained with Houchen know the reason why. It's what she calls the fire in her belly. It's that will and determination – the same will and determination she works so hard to pass on to future generations of young girls as the Head Coach of the Blue Devils FC Junior Girls Academy and as a co-founder and Head Coach of Future Girls Soccer.
Soccer is the most played sport in the world with over 4 billion followers, and Mauricio Flores had the great fortune of being born, raised, and educated in a country where soccer is deeply ingrained in the culture. Originally from Mexico, Mauricio has accomplished much in the sport he loves, including playing professionally for 11 years. That experience has given him first-hand insight into, as well as a profound respect for, the beautiful game.
After his professional career came to an end, coaching came naturally for Mauricio. He now holds a USSF National A licence and has spent the last 16 years of his life learning, breathing, and living soccer in some of the most renowned soccer clubs across the globe. This has given him a unique perspective, and has been a driving force in his continual development as a mentor and a coach.
As Mauricio says, “Soccer is my life and passion! My goal is to pass along all my years of acquired knowledge to help guide young players who have aspirations to pursue a future career in soccer, as well as to provide a safe place for players to nurture their love of the game. I hope with all my heart that we can create a great soccer culture for all the new generations to come - uniting people through the beautiful game of soccer.”
FC. Khody has had a long association with the Blue Devils having won two League1 Ontario Championships (2015, 2017) and the 2015 Inter-Provincial Championship as a key player with the League1 Blue Devils men’s team. Khody has enjoyed incredible success with the Blue Devils including being named a four-time League1 Ontario All-Star and earning a spot on the League1 Ontario All-Time Best XI, while also helping the team make history as the first-ever League1 Ontario team to compete in the Canadian Championship.
Prior to his playing and coaching career with the Blue Devils, Khody studied kinesiology at Parkland College from 2010-2012 where he also played soccer and was named Midwest Athletic Conference 2010 First Team All-Conference and First Team All-Regional.
He followed up at Sheridan College in 2014-15 where he earned his Fundamentals of Fitness Leadership. During his time at Sheridan, he helped lead the Bruins to the 2014 National Championship while also capturing Male Athlete of the Year honours.
Khody Ellis is a Strength and Conditioning Coach and Fascial Stretch Therapist at Peaks Lifestyle away from the pitch, and brings the lessons he’s learned professionally to the Blue Devils FC club he knows so well. “For me, it’s about helping all the Academy players develop a strong educational foundation in safe and effective movement, and mental performance. I can’t express enough how vital strength training is for the development of young athletes, and I am looking forward to being the person to bring this to the club that I love and have dedicated so many years to.”
Mark joined the Blue Devils Senior Coaching Staff in 2017. He works with the players in the Senior Academy group running sport-specific fitness sessions. He has helped Blue Devils athletes set individual goals with weight loss, strength gain and endurance. Mark is also instrumental with pre-game, in-game and post-game fitness preparation and monitoring.
Mark is an outstanding and important member of the Blue Devils team and utilizes his tremendous knowledge and passion for strength and conditioning to Blue Devils players of all ages.