You are a mailman. Your primary job is to deliver mail, it’s to make sure countless bills, fines and the occasional postcard makes it to its required destination. Your job is not to speak to every person in the street and find out how their day was or why they keep getting their final written notice to pay their rent.
What sets us apart from the rest? Well I’m not a postman of course, I’m a youth soccer coach. Most would say my job is solely aimed at coaching the boys and girls that are in my team and give them a general understanding of football. But is that where it should stop?
I have a very privileged job where parents, who love their children , decide for a solitary hour twice a week, to leave them unaccompanied in my care.
Realistically speaking…of all the countless boys I have coached over the years, at this current moment, one is signed in a first team in the PSL. There are about 10-20 boys playing at professional youth academies and the majority are still at feeding clubs waiting to grow older and prove their worth.
I would be lucky to have five boys playing professional football one day, so what about all the other kids? What lasting impression do I have on them? What can they take from the soccer field into their life?
I am on a daily basis bombarded with personal information about these children I coach, whether it’s that they sick, being bullied at school or their parents are getting a divorce. What type of coach I plan on being would be based on what I choose to do with the information.
For example the other day, one of my kids was faced with a tragedy in his family and recently in the last two years I was faced with my stepbrother and best friend committing suicide for unknown reasons. I learnt about death and how one can possibly deal with it. Being a young boy I tried my outmost to help him understand why these things happen and why it couldn’t of been anyones( including his) fault.
One day I hope that he won’t only remember me for the countless hours of football we shared but maybe for that little piece of guidance and advise that may have helped him deal with his situation.
I am not just a coach, I’m a father, an uncle, a friend, a role model and a coach. What I want to set me apart from everyone else, is the fact, that I am willing to be all these things.