DSAL serves thousands of youth and families every year through a range of fitness and recreation activities, including soccer, boxing, taekwondo, fitness, Muévete, dance, and the Rhythm Cadets drumline. And unlike other gyms and fitness activities that were forced to close during the COVID-19 pandemic, DSAL continued supporting the community by moving all of its fitness activities online with Zoom chats, training videos, and inspirational webinars with college and professional players.
DSAL’s Athletic Department is laser focused on the day-to-day needs of youth and families in the communities we serve, which is why our coaches went above and beyond during the pandemic, conducting one-on-one visits with to check in with players and their families, and building a “learning pod” at the Canchitas Soccer Park to help kids learn, stay active, and avoid social isolation during the pandemic.
The growth of DSAL’s Athletic Department largely took place under the leadership of Nick Lusson, a tireless advocate for expanding opportunities for youth in Alameda County’s low-income communities to participate in and achieve their potential through recreation and sport.
Sadly, Nick recently left DSAL to take on new responsibilities, but before he left, he made sure the Athletic Department would be in good hands by leading the search for his replacement.
The result: DSAL has hired an outstanding team to fill his shoes.Former WNBA player and USA Basketball team member and Oakland native Alexis (Lexi) Gray-Lawson will serve as DSAL’s Athletic Director, and Edwin Weathersby II will serve as DSAL’s Associate Athletic Director.
“We are overjoyed to welcome Alexis and Edwin to our team,” said Hilary Bass, Crime Prevention Sr. Program Specialist, Alameda County Sheriff’s Office. “Alexis’s deep roots in the Bay Area combined with her expertise coaching and overseeing sports teams, developing and managing budgets, and fostering relationships in the community make her the ideal leader for our growing Recreation Department. Edwin’s many years of experience in sports operations, analysis, and marketing will provide a new level of management that will add value to the organization and accelerate our work in the community.”
Gray-Lawson, an Oakland native, was a basketball standout at Oakland Technical High School, where she led her team to two California State titles, earning MVP honors. She continued her basketball career at the University of California Berkeley, and went on to win a gold medal with Team USA at the 2009 World University Games. Gray-Lawson played in the WNBA for the Washington Mystics and Phoenix Mercury. She started coaching in 2015, when she joined Como Park High School Senior High School in Saint Paul, Minnesota, as Head Women's Basketball Coach, leading the team to two section championships and earning the program's first state championship berth.
Originally from Los Angeles, Weathersby played football, baseball, and basketball in his youth, and threw the shot in high school. Although injuries prevented him from playing post-high school, he went on to work for three professional sports teams, including two NFL teams and 1 NCAA D-1 athletics department at the University of California-Davis. Weatherby has also worked for Sports Illustrated, Bleacher/Report, Student Sports, and All-American Games.
He has master’s degrees in Sports Management and Sports Coaching and a bachelor's degree in Sports Management, all from the United States Sports Academy.
“Recreational activities for youth and families are at the core of DSAL’s work to improve public safety through Community Capitals Policing,” said Bass. “Under Nick’s leadership, DSAL’s free sports, music, dance, and fitness programs have improved the health and wellbeing of thousands of youth and families in the County’s unincorporated neighborhoods. We also owe a great debt to Nick for professionalizing the department, attracting a high caliber of professional coaches and instructors, and going to extra lengths to continue DSAL’s services, foster innovation and creativity in the delivery of programming, and keep tabs on participants throughout the pandemic. DSAL has been lucky to have him on the team, and he will be missed!”