Aldershot Town have signed former Millwall and St Albans defender Omar Beckles on a one-year contract.
The 23 year-old, who can play at centre-back and right-back as well as in midfield, featured as a trialist against both Hampton and Richmond Borough and Cardiff City’s Under 21 side this week, and manager Barry Smith said: “Omar comes with a good pedigree and he’s impressed in the two games that he’s played. He’s young enough to learn and get better, and he’ll definitely get that chance here. He wants to play at a higher level and he’s come to Aldershot Town to progress under myself and Chris, and I’m sure he’ll do that.”
Omar began his career at Millwall, appearing as an unused substitute for the first-team on one occasion, and completed his scholarship with Bristol City before joining the Glenn Hoddle Academy in Spain and playing for Jerez Industrial in the summer of 2010. Returning to England a year later, Beckles enjoyed two spells at Boreham Wood, either side of a brief period with Kettering Town.
2013 saw further moves to Conference South club Billericay and Histon in Conference North, before joining Terry Brown’s Margate in March 2014. Via a dual-registration deal which saw Omar start the 2014-15 season with Hornchurch, he then broke into the St Albans City side and was named The Saints’ Player of the Month for January.
“I feel like I’ve settled in well, the lads have made me feel comfortable,” said the Leytonstone-born defender who is composed on the ball as well as imposing in the air. “I’m dedicated and enthusiastic and I want to push on. I’ve been out of the full-time game for a while and I’m hungry to kick on. The manager’s philosophy definitely suits me and although I’ve been born and bred as a centre-back I can also fill in in other positions.
“There’s a bit of expectation here but you’ve got nothing to live up to without it. When you’ve got such enthusiastic lads that all have the desire to push on to a higher level, that is only going to spur us on,” continued Omar, who already holds his UEFA B Licence coaching badge. “Where I’ve been part-time previously I’ve been able to invest my time in coaching. It’s something I’ve always been enthusiastic about but that broader understanding of the game has also helped me as a player.”
“When you have a small squad you need players who can play in a number of positions. We would like another one or two additions,” admitted Smith, “but finances will dictate where we go with that. I’m still looking, and a striker is my priority. We need competition in all positions.”