BRIAN SCIARETTA - Tuesday, April 20, 2010
After impressing in an extended trial at FC Bordeaux this spring, American midfielder Lester Dewee will hope to sign his first professional contract towards the end of the summer.
Dewee, 17, has been training with the reserve team from the defending Ligue 1 champions for the past month and a half. His time at Bordeaux follows an extended training stint at fellow Ligue 1 perennial power Marseille in 2009. When comparing the two different environments Dewee, feels as if the atmosphere at Bordeaux fits him better.
"It's good. I am playing with the second team here at Bordeaux," Dewee told YA. "It's going very well actually. I've been here over a month and a half now. I like Bordeaux. It is more relaxed than Marseille. Marseille was amazing with the quality of players but Bordeaux is more relaxed."
In the past few years, FIFA have gradually made it far more difficult for players under the age of 18 to play fulltime in foreign countries. Dewee, who is not a dual citizen with any other country, has therefore only been able to participate in training sessions and scrimmages in France.
Despite his young age, Bordeaux have been impressed with the young American and with his 18th birthday fast approaching, they may try to act quickly. Dewee said he will explore all options but he tends to prefer to stay in France.
"I am just training now because I don't have a player's license yet here. Bordeaux can't sign me yet until I turn 18 in August," Dewee said of his situation at club. "The contract offer from Bordeaux is in my hands right now but it's up to me in terms of if I want to commit to the club or if I want to look elsewhere. I kind of want to stay in France because France is a good place to grow and develop as a player."
Dewee, who is a native of Silver Spring, Maryland, came up through the youth system of DC United where he excelled on the field. His natural position is as an outside midfielder but recently at Bordeaux, he has been moved up front at forward.
"I played for DC United U16 and I was the captain there," Dewee recalled of his time with DC United. "They were all good players at the time. I developed there and it did allow me to come over here [to France] and be able to play at this level. I enjoyed my time there."
Dewee also received more positive news recently when he was invited by US U-20 head coach Thomas Rongen to play with the US U-20 national next month at the International Cor Groenewegen Tournament in Uitgeest, Holland. Dewee said he was both relieved and excited by Rongen's invitation.
"It was kind of funny because it was actually more of a sigh of relief after so many years of national team disappointment," Dewee admitted. "I was with the U-15's for awhile. But with the U-17s, I ended up getting sick at the most important camp and I had to go home that same day. So that ruined my residency and my World Cup chances."
"So getting called up to the U-20s, it was more 'thank you,'" Dewee continued. "Finally, now I get the chance to prove myself with the national team."
While Dewee is familiar with many of the other young Americans at his age group from his days with previous youth national teams, next month will be the first time he has played at the U-20 level. Dewee is excited to play with many of his former US teammates and he is excited also to play for Rongen.
"Rongen is a very straight forward guy and is a good coach," Dewee said frankly. "He doesn't take things lightly. Anytime you wear the USA jersey you have to go out there and perform 110%."
Dewee is optimistic that under Rongen, this current U-20 team has the talent and ability to make a deep run at next year's U-20 World Cup in Colombia.
"We have a chance to go far," Dewee concluded. "We have a lot of talented players. We now just have to find our rhythm, come together and perform."