The Corner Brook Minor Soccer Association wants its students coaches to realize the important role they play in delivering programs to young boys and girls.
The association also wants to recognize the commitment of the coaching staff expected to help deliver a sound program.
With this in mind, association president Bruce Keating said the executive board has created the Sweetapple Youth Leadership in Soccer Awards.
The association will present leadership awards to two senior and junior coaches the association has on its payroll this summer.
Keating said his group felt it was important to acknowledge the best of the best in the group of some 20 student coaches who will be employed for the summer.
He also believes the student coaching program serves as a real youth leadership development program with students responsible for grooming and encouraging players from all age groups.
“We want people who are employed by Corner Brook minor soccer to view their position really as an opportunity to kind of step into a leadership role and to take responsibility for age groups or teams,” Keating said Wednesday.
In the past, he said, there have been some really good student coaches who have gone on to become leaders in the community so he hopes the awards will bring out the best in others who will be coaching this summer.
The winners will be announced at the end of the summer program and the two senior students will receive $300 each, while the junior students who win the award will get $200 for their efforts.
Keating said it’s important for everybody involved in the sport to understand what’s really expected from the student coaching staff and to realize how important they are when it comes to a smooth operation.
Once it was decided to forge ahead with the awards program, according to Keating, the board voted unanimously to name the awards after tireless soccer volunteer Doug Sweetapple, who has been committed to the promotion and development of soccer for over 50 years in the city. Sweetapple has become Mr. Soccer in local circles and is still engaged big-time with head coaching duties for the Western Under-14 boys team in provincial play taking up a lot of his time this summer.
“When I think about the amount of time, as a volunteer, he’s given to soccer in the community and the province I think it’s absolutely astounding what he’s done over probably close to 50 years and continues to do,” Keating said.
More importantly, he said, when he looks around the executive table he sees a lot of faces who are involved in the game today because of Sweetapple’s influence.
“He’s encouraged people to get involved and he’s been a real catalyst ... not just in supporting the game of soccer, but in terms of getting people involved and making a contribution,” he said.