BRIAN SCIARETTA - Wednesday, August 17, 2011
As Superettan leaders Angelholm continue their quest for promotion into the Swedish Allsvenskan, they have recently acquired American forward Lester Dewee boost their offense in the second half of the season.
Dewee, 19, signed with the club two weeks ago and he is likely to make his debut in the coming weeks.
"First, I am just really grateful for the opportunity for a club to see the potential in me and to be given the chance to play with the first team on my first club contract," Dewee told YA. "So that is a dream come true. It's an accomplishment and I feel really good."
Dewee was brought in by Angelholm because their top forward Sebastian Andersson is widely rumored to be leaving the club before the close of the transfer window at the end of the month.
With ten games remaining in the season, Angelholm are in first place and are four points clear of third place Sundsvall for automatic promotion.
Andersson leads the team with ten goals on the season and with his potential transfer looming, Dewee is prepared to step in an fill the void.
"Sebastian Andersson could be leaving this month because a lot of clubs want him," Dewee explained. "So there could be an open spot. I am willing to do whatever it takes to make sure the team gets promoted to the first division."
Dewee has also found himself in a position where just weeks after signing his first ever professional contract he will be asked to step into a fierce promotional fight and contribute immediately.
Dewee insists he up to the task and he is confident the pressure will only help him play to his potential.
"There is a bit of pressure but that is what makes it more fun," Dewee discussed. "I think that is when I'll step up and really show who I am. I am actually really excited for it because I think the pressure will make me perform better."
Angelholm signed Dewee after a successful three week trial where the DC area-native fit comfortably into the team.
During his trial in throughout July, Dewee came away impressed by the team's players and coaches and this has left him confident for his future at the club.
"The trial went really well," Dewee recalled. "I was lucky to be over there on trial with another American [in Shaquille Phillips] who was over there with me. That was nice and it made it easier for me to adjust. But the coaches and the players, everyone was really friendly. It was actually a really good experience. The playing level was high and all the players were good on the ball and with their technique. The coaches all took me under their wing."
At Angelholm, Dewee will be hoping to replicate the success that other Americans have had in Sweden. Within the past five years, US internationals Charlie Davies and Alejandro Bedoya each began their professional careers in Sweden.
Dewee is ambitious and has high goals for his career. He is optimistic that Sweden will be a great place to begin because it is a league that features young players and it is proven to develop talent.
"I feel that Scandinavian countries are solid stepping stone," Dewee pointed out. "It's always been one of my top goals to play in the big clubs in Germany, England, or Spain. Starting off here is really good because it gives young players a chance to play games and develop."
"There is nothing better than being 19 and being able to play and start for your club's first team," he added. "With that you gain confidence, you improve your technique, and everything just becomes better. Big clubs will come looking if you perform."
Dewee has had experience in Europe before. Last year he spent time training with youth teams at Marseille but was never able to secure a contract offer from the club.
At the end of his time in France, Dewee was battling a serious hamstring injuries and he elected to rehab in the United States as opposed to in France where Marseille wanted him to recover. From then his relationship with the club crumbled. Despite that dispute, Dewee has no hard feelings for Marseille.
"Things kind of fell through with Marseille due to the fact that they kind of got mad that I came back to the United States to do my rehab," Dewee said of the experience. "But I believe everything happens for a reason. I'm happy to be where I am now."
Once he returned to health this year, Dewee began to train within the DC United again. Dewee was familiar with the club as he played there earlier in his youth before he headed to Marseille.
When he got the opportunity to trial at Angelholm, Dewee faced the decision to go or to stay at DC and continue to fight for a contract with the MLS club. The decision was not all that difficult as Dewee had his heart set on beginning his career in Europe.
"Before I was thinking about signing in MLS but in the back of my mind I just knew that if I wanted to become a big player I'll have to pursue overseas in Europe," Dewee concluded.
Dewee and Angelholm next play Saturday, August 20 when they visit fourth place Degerfors.