Odaine Demar combines faith and soccer with King’s Warriors
Odaine Démar has called Canada home for several years now and hopes to one day represent Canada on the international stage. Démar was born in Port Antonio, Jamaica but moved to Canada as a teenager, where he made the move to playing professional soccer.
Having played two seasons in the Canadian Soccer League with Capital City FC, Démar made the move to Sweden in the spring of 2012. He signed for Gamla Upsala SK in Sweden’s Division 2 Norra Svealand, which is part of the country’s professional league structure.
His club would finish the season in 9th place, just above the relegation places, but following the season Démar began looking for a new club. The young defender had offers to continue his playing career in Europe and had the chance to go on trial with several different clubs, but it was the interest of just one club that he was concerned with.
Démar is a devote Christian and he felt that during his time in Europe his faith was weakening and he was becoming overly focused on what he calls the “footballers lifestyle.” His desire to focus more on his faith ahead of the pursuit of money led Démar to look for a club team in North America.
Last week, he officially signed with Southern West Virginia King’s Warriors of the United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League. The West Virginia based club was a perfect fit for Démar because they are a Christian club with the focus of helping their players grow as men of God. When Démar received a reply from the club, it was just too good to turn down as it would allow him to continue playing at a high level while strengthening his faith. It was a perfect fit.
The PDL club is unique in that they incorporate Christian faith into everything they do both on and off the field. Under the leadership of Dr. James Blume, the Club President, the team joined the PDL in 2012 and finished their first campaign 8th in the South Atlantic Division with a modest 4-10-2 record.
The team was founded by Blume along with The Nehemiah Group, a West Virginian non-profit organization which was already heavily involved in youth soccer in the area. Blume had dreamed of bringing professional soccer to Beckley, WV, and in 2012 that dream came true with the King’s Warriors beginning play. The addition of a higher level club was key for the Nehemiah group since it would give local youth players something more to aspire to.
Scott Reitnour, the club’s head coach, made the jump to coaching in the PDL after a nine year spell at Wesleyan Christian Academy in High Point, N.C. He led his Trojans team to a 156-43-23 record during his time at the school before making the jump to join King’s Warriors.
Along with a history of success on the field, Reitnour also embodied the mission of King’s Warriors in his ability to combine striving for professional excellence and results with loving God and serving the community. He will certainly be looking to improve the club’s on field performance in 2013, and a big part of that is adding players like Démar to the club’s roster.
King’s Warriors already had a strong returning group of defenders from 2012, so adding Demar should put them in good shape to improve on the 24 goals they allowed in 16 games last season. The team has nine players returning from the 2012 season, providing a solid core to the roster. With seven of the club’s ten defeats being by just a single goal, it should not take much for them to take the next step and compete for a playoff spot in 2013.
For Démar, the dream of one day representing Canada is still there, but for now he is focused on becoming the best player and man that he can be with King’s Warriors. It may not come with the glamour of playing in Europe, but for Démar that is a good thing. Having the chance to work with teammates, coaches, and owners who have similar priorities in life to his own is worth more than the money or lifestyle that staying in Europe might have offered.
The Southern West Virginia King’s Warriors will kick off their 2013 PDL campaign on Saturday, May 18 when they host in-state rivals West Virginia Chaos at the YMCA’s Paul Cline Memorial Youth Sports Complex in Beckley.