CLU student-athletes pave way for youth soccer players to ‘practice to perfect’

Malcolm Van Halen, Reporter

When they’re not in class or on the soccer field, some California Lutheran University student-athletes are getting involved in the community.

The Camarillo Eagles, a local club soccer team, hosts a youth soccer league. Several students and recent graduates of Cal Lutheran have been involved in the league since its conception.

“The kids come from all over the county [mainly Camarillo and Thousand Oaks],” Peter Wilder, Cal Lutheran alumnus, said in an email interview

Regals Soccer Head Coach Frank Marino had the idea to start the league, said Dustin Lettera, business administration major at Cal Lutheran, in an email interview.

“The youth sports league is a league run by Eagles soccer club where girls and boys from a variety of ages come to practice to perfect their technique, footwork, and teamwork,” Lettera said.

Lettera said he got involved with the team because his friend and teammate was already coaching for the league.

“I thought it was pretty cool and I wanted to see if I could get in that environment,” Lettera said.

Wilder said he started working with the team in 2016 and graduated in 2018 but still enjoys helping out with the league.

“I started working summer camps at CLU under the leadership of Frank Marino, the Women’s Head Soccer Coach, so coaching has always been something I’ve been interested in,” Wilder said. “Once I injured myself my sophomore year, I began turning my attention to coaching.”

Although Wilder could not physically play during his injury, he said he was able to stay involved with the sport through the league.

Lettera said it was important to him to have the opportunity to work with the team because it could further his future career skills.

“I saw coaching at the youth league as an opportunity to further my management and communication skills,” Lettera said. “It was important for me to do this because I am a business major with an emphasis in sports management and this could contribute to my career later on.”