United through volunteer support
By Prue Hartley
2023 brought positive changes for the New Farm United Soccer Club, including a record number of registered female players, and these achievements could not be celebrated without acknowledging their volunteer support.
At the end of season trophy event, volunteers, committee members and players were recognised for their achievements and hard work throughout the year.
Anais Gould was the recipient of the volunteer of the year award and Luke Whistler was awarded coach of the year.
Ms Gould began volunteering at the club four years ago after her children joined the club.
“Both of my children play, so I thought why not volunteer when I have free time? I am the manager for both of their teams,” Ms Gould said.
She said that she enjoys the involvement and community aspect of volunteering at the club.
“If you’ve got a team where all the kids are engaged in the game and you’ve got all the parents coming along and supporting the kids, it creates a really nice community not only for the kids but also for the families,” she said.
“The girls’ team were extremely enthusiastic this year; they wanted to train in the rain and were all about it, which was really nice to see,” Ms Gould said.
Mr Whistler has had a long-standing passion for coaching.
“It’s a big passion of mine, especially when it is connected to kids and youth sports. I coached women’s soccer and have undertaken mindset coaching for swimming in 2000, and also men’s rugby in 2002 and 2003,” Mr Whistler said.
“These days, I run a charity called Fathers of Girls which partners with Netball Australia to build confident girls,” he said.
Mr Whistler was an assistant coach in 2020-21 with his brother-in-law when his third daughter was part of his team.
“I have subsequently led the coaching of my fourth daughter in her team for two years and I plan to continue next year while two of my daughters play at the club, especially after the Matilda’s fever at the World Cup,” he said.
Mr Whistler said that coaching has been a valuable experience for him.
“Sport is a powerful way to connect children to a healthy lifestyle, whether that is being active, building self-confidence, nurturing a growth mindset or simply helping them make friends,” Mr Whistler said.
“New Farm United is a great club that is growing thanks to the work of dedicated people,” he said.