Most days, you will find a member of the Moorhouse family volunteering at The Lakes FC.
You might find coach Craig on one of the fields at the Kinsellas Sports Complex in North Lakes, managing teams and overseeing training sessions in his role as club Technical Director.
You may see Craig’s wife, Emma, tapping out an email or promoting the club’s activities as the Social Media and Safeguarding Officer.
Or you’ll spot teenage siblings Jack and Izzobel Moorhouse playing with their friends in The Lakes’ junior teams or coaching kids as part of the club’s MiniRoos Kick Off program.
For the Moorhouses, who migrated to Australia from England in May 2018, football is a family affair; a way to connect with one another and to their new community.
“Leaving the UK was a difficult decision to make, and I think all of us at various times over the past few years have had moments of homesickness,” said Craig.
“Covid has made things difficult with travel, and like many immigrant families in Australia, we haven’t been able to travel back home.
“But through football, we’ve been able to hang out with like-minded people and build relationships.”
For Craig and Emma, who are both from military backgrounds, community service and volunteerism are second nature.
Before they left England, Grassroots Football UK gave them a shoutout on social media for building the Benson Lions, a junior club in Oxford, 90km northwest of London.
Naturally, when the family moved to Australia, Craig and Emma immediately began looking for a football club for their son, Jack.
“Back in England, Jack would play literally on his doorstep: the field was opposite our house and his best friend was just up the road,” said Emma.
“At first, I think he was a bit homesick, but once we got to The Lakes he said, ‘I like it here’.”
Before long, the club committee asked Craig to become a coach and Emma to oversee the club’s COVID Safe plan to return to play.
The biggest surprise, to Craig and Emma, was when their middle child Izzobel suddenly expressed an interest in football.
“My youngest daughter, inspired by the fact that her brother was constantly at football and Emma and I were also there, decided to start playing,” said Craig.
“She had never played before, but she joined a team for the first time during the 2020 season. So we had our youngest two playing and Emma and I on the committee.”
Jack now plays for The Lakes U15 boys team; Izzy for the U16 girls. Both have volunteered to coach and referee in the club’s junior program.
Craig’s role has widened from junior coach and Club Coach Coordinator to Technical Director, while Emma’s job morphed from COVID safety to managing the club’s Child Protection procedures as well as their website and social media accounts.
When The Lakes launched the Leroy The Lion mascot earlier this year, Craig donned the lion suit and hit the local shops to promote the club.
Football Queensland CEO Robert Cavallucci said the Moorhouse family’s progression at The Lakes is an example of community football at its best.
“Craig and Emma’s journey over the past few years demonstrates how football is often the glue that binds communities together,” said Cavallucci.
“The Lakes are a textbook example of how clubs should recruit and manage their volunteers. They have created a positive environment for Craig and Emma’s children, identified their skills on and off the field, and empowered them to be part of the club.”
Indeed, the positive culture at The Lakes has enabled the Moorhouses to set down roots in Queensland.
“Once we found our football family, it made settling in Australia so much easier,” said Craig.
“We’re permanent residents at the moment and we’ve got one more year before we’re eligible for citizenship, at which point we will be absolutely applying to become citizens.”
As military people, both Craig and Emma have grown accustomed to moving around. But Australia “feels like home at the moment,” said Emma.
“We’ve been accepted by this football community and for us it’s about loyalty and giving something back.
“The club is growing, and we are privileged to be a part of that. Once you start volunteering, it’s hard to stop.”
To find out more about volunteering at your local club, click here.