Sunday, May 28, 2023

OPC Hosts Professional Soccer Trainer

To Teach Local Youth Players

Photo courtesy of Oxford Park Commission
Photo courtesy of Oxford Park Commission

Oxford, MS – For the first time ever, Oxford Park Commission (OPC) is bringing a professional soccer coach known as an Academy Trainer to Oxford to train local youth players.  Organized through the Challenger Soccer Academy, the Academy Trainer program provides a fully licensed coach who will offer training sessions to OPC players and teams incorporating all components of the game.

“We’re very excited to host an Academy Trainer in Oxford for the first time,” says Rob Boyd, executive director of OPC. Boyd explains, “Through working with the Trainer, players will learn the skills to adapt to all three phases of play: attacking, defending and transition. Our goal is to provide a new layer of training that both players and coaches can benefit from.”

Marcus Lahiff of Barking, England has been assigned as OPC’s Academy Trainer. Lahiff arrived to Oxford on Sunday, September 1, and will stay here training through October 28. While this is his first visit to Mississippi, he has spent a summer in the United States teaching through Challenge Soccer Academy in Denver, Colorado.

Lahiff has played university league soccer (the equivalent of our college level soccer), has coached a soccer club for two years, and holds Football Association level 1 and 2 coaching certificates (soccer is known as “football” in the United Kingdom). He is currently in his final year of university studying Physical Education and Education Studies at Liverpool John Moores University.

Tiffany Ulatowski, athletic director of OPC, created a schedule that gives each boys’ and girls’ soccer team a designated time to practice with Lahiff.  The schedule was sent out to team coaches. “We are eager to see our teams practice and learn new skills with the Academy Trainer,” says Ulatowski. “We’re confident that Academy Training will have numerous benefits for our players as well as our coaches.”