A native of Nigeria, Coach Oyeleke Payne has an extensive soccer background as both an elite player and coach. His playing career includes the Nigerian Youth Academy 3SC FC and college ball at Alabama A&M University. He holds U.S. Soccer C, D, E licenses, and is a Southeastern US Scout for AJ Sports Group. His soccer training program has helped dozens of young athletes develop their skills and go on to play soccer at elite universities and make national team squads, however, Coach Payne also believes in developing the whole person, not just the player.

What do you believe makes a good soccer player?

Developing a good soccer player requires time,passion, hard work, and a love of the game. I believe the encouraging a player to continue developing a love for the game through hard work, attention to details, proper development, and time to complete 10,000 hours within the "golden age of soccer" will require these for pillars of development.

  1. Physical
  2. Psychological
  3. Technical
  4. Tactical

What is your "Soccer Run" and why is it important

To assist physical development, I came up with a combination of physical and stamina building, that I call the "soccer run." You must train the body to do certain soccer specific moves without the ball because it will it easier to do the movement later with the ball at your feet. In my opinion, the soccer run is quickest and best way to build the skills needed to hold the ball at the feet.

Dribbling like Lionel Messi requires a natural low center of gravity, power with speed, and ability to hold the ball with the right place on the foot with agility and athleticism. Not everyone has the natural ability of Messi, but learning to train like him can give players an edge by getting the  body ready to play the game and solve problems on the field.

What drives you to develop young talent?

I was raised with a heart for giving back to my community with Christian faith and love of God as my foundation for serving young players and parents and helping them realize the dream of playing at the next level. Soccer is important but I enjoy being able to help shape young lives to be good young men and women.  I want them to understand  that family, community, and God should be their focus, and that those values will be with them long after their soccer-playing career has ended.

How can you help players earn a shot at a college scholarship?

Even with the advantages of social media and video so easy to capture and share, it can still be difficult to be seen by college coaches. However, one question that I get a lot on the recruiting trail from college coaches when talking about players is ‘Does he or she train with you or in your program?’ The quality of our training program is well-known to college coaches throughout the nation, so just being in our program and developing your mental and physical skills increases a player’s chances of getting a soccer scholarship significantly.

Coach Payne’s Training Schedule

The typical training session lasts 2-3 hours.

Day Location Start Time
Mondays Heardmont Park 5:30 p.m.
Tuesdays Heardmont Park 5:30 p.m.
Wednesdays Heardmont Park 5:30 p.m.
Saturdays Heardmont Park 9:00 a.m.
Sundays (Soccer Run) Veteran Park 2:00 p.m.