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New River United Soccer

New River United Soccer


We are here to provide you and your family with the best youth soccer experience possible! We are proud to bring you a group of highly accomplished coaches and administrators. Read the bios below to learn more about your club staff.

Leslie Fitzpatrick

Executive Director
Email:[email protected]
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 801.259.9311

Former Trinidad &Tobago international football (soccer) player Leslie “Tiger” Fitzpatrick is a U.S.S.F. A-licensed coach with an extensive background in holistic youth player development. The former M.L.S. (Major League Soccer) player has over 17 years of coaching experience having started his licenses during his professional playing days in Columbus, OH. Throughout the years, Tiger has been responsible for developing a number of players who have gone on to represent various National teams, secured professional contracts, and attained scholarships in both the United States and Canada.  

Fitzpatrick’s love for the sport began at a tender age and his passion for the sport vaulted him into representing his native country from the Under-15 level all the way through to the Senior National team. In 1994, at the age of 16, he earned a spot with the professional academy team of Roda J.C. in the Dutch Eredivisie in the Netherlands. The pinnacle of his playing career came with being a member of the historic Trinidad & Tobago team that qualified for the 2006 F.I.F.A. World Cup in Germany. The twin island republic was the smallest country to ever qualify for a World Cup until Iceland qualified for the 2018 event in Russia. Tiger retired from play in 2012 following a 10-year playing career that saw him ply his trade in the US, Germany, the Netherlands, China, Sweden, Puerto Rico, and Trinidad & Tobago.

Fitzpatrick holds a B.A. from Columbia University where he completed a double major in Economics and Political Science at the Ivy League Institution. He also holds a Master’s degree in Sports Administration and Sports Management from the University of Miami, graduating with a 4.0 GPA. As a scholar-athlete, Fitzpatrick represented the quintessential balance between sport and academics. Fitzpatrick's tenacity, skill, and leadership qualities resurrected the soccer program at the Ivy-league institution. Tiger was a two time Regional All-American, a four-year All-Ivy player, as well as a three-year Academic All-Ivy League player. He garnered the Offensive MVP of the FIU Golden Panther Classic and finished his school career 3rd on the All-Time Assists board for the Ivy League Institution. As a member of the First-team All-Ivy and First Team All-Northeast Region, he was second best in the league with 10 goals and 12 assists, the highest scorer in 2000. 

Upon retirement, Tiger went into coaching full time and took up the position of Technical Director and General Manager of a Toronto-based Academy for 5 years. Concurrently, Fitzpatrick ran his own small soccer academy in Buffalo, NY with the hope of giving back to the Western NY region, where he had many great experiences as a professional player. At the beginning of 2018, he embarked on some new challenges, including moving into Collegiate coaching with the George Brown College Women’s soccer program taking over the reins of Head Coach in the summer of 2018. The team earned a playoff spot for the first time since the women’s program was re-introduced, with two players being named Ontario Collegiate Athletic Association (O.C.A.A.) All-Stars. At the end of the season, Fitzpatrick was named as the O.C.A.A. Central Division Coach of the Year. 

Tiger spearheaded the development program for the Scarborough GS United soccer club which has been one of the preeminent adult soccer clubs both provincially and nationally in Canada. He worked as the assistant coach for the Senior Women’s team who won their 6th consecutive Ontario Cup and 1st National Championship at the end of 2018.



Matt Gwilliam

Director of Senior Programming
Phone: 540-641-0243
Email: [email protected]

No stranger to the the New River Valley, Gwilliam previously coached for the club from 2008-2011 working with the high school aged girls, while an assistant coach with the women’s program at Virginia Tech.  Gwilliam brings experience in both the college and the club soccer scenes having been a coach both in club and in division 1 programs for over 10 years. 

After serving as an assistant coach at Virginia Tech, Gwilliam moved to Philadelphia to be become the Temple University women’s soccer head coach.  He later moved with his family to Colorado to become the assistant coach at Colorado College.  While at Colorado College, Gwilliam was the director of goalkeeping for Pride Soccer Club as well as coached the ’99 Predator and ’00 Copa boys teams.  He has been involved with clubs everywhere he has been.

“We feel very fortunate to have someone of Matt’s caliber join our staff,” “His coaching credentials speak for themselves, but for us his teaching background is what made Matt the right hire.  We were looking for someone of high character to come in and work with both our players and coaches with a teaching skillset, and Matt fit that description perfectly.  We are looking forward to getting him on the field working with everyone as soon as possible.”

Gwilliam will be focusing on the travel side of the club, working directly with each coach, manager and player.  Please join us in welcoming Matt Gwilliam back to the club.

 Steve Oakey

Technical Director
Phone: 540-381-0066
Email: [email protected]

Steve has been a wonderful asset to NRU, serving as one of the standout coaches at all levels of the club since 2009. He has a holistic coaching philosophy crafted upon building positive relationships, and espousing a high values system between players, coaches, parents, and the larger New River United community. His unwavering and steadfast belief in continuous soccer education aligns directly with the vision and mission of our club.

A native of southeast London, Steve played youth soccer for West Ham F.C. and Charlton Athletic F.C. youth teams and signed youth apprenticeship forms for Charlton Athletic F.C. He went on to play for their youth and reserve teams from 1994-96. From 1996-98, he played English non-league football for Bromley F.C. before deciding to embark on an adventure to the United States to play collegiate soccer for four years with Tusculum College in Tennessee. Upon graduation in 2002, he played PDL soccer for the Nashville Metros for a season before attending Virginia Tech where he earned his MA in English in 2004. He continues to teach writing classes at VT while combining his passion for the demands of education and the rewards that knowledge brings on and off the soccer pitch for NRU and beyond.

Steve holds a USSF B License, as well as an English FA Intermediate Level Coaching certificate.



Club Registrar                         

Phone: 540-381-0066
Email: [email protected]

Paula Williams, a long-time Blacksburg resident, serves as the NRU’s executive assistant.  She has been involved with the club since 1995 and has seen her two sons play from their kindergarten days through high school. Her duties are office manager and club administrator.  Paula also holds the same positions at Christ Episcopal Church in Blacksburg.

Paula is a graduate of LSU where she was a 4 year letterman and All-SEC gymnast.  She is currently a United States Tennis Association and Intercollegiate Tennis official.  She has two sons, Jeremy, a former Virginia Tech soccer player and currently graduate assistant to Florida State women’s soccer program, and Mitchell who plays soccer at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville.  She and her husband Jay live in Blacksburg.

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