Football Queensland (FQ) is pleased to announce Brett O’Keefe of Whitsunday United Football Club as the Volunteer of the Month for September.
As the winner for September 2019, O’Keefe wins a $250 travel voucher courtesy of Flight Centre, Football Queensland’s official travel and accommodation partner.
O’Keefe was nominated to the Academy of Awesome by Abigail Draper, a parent at Whitsunday United FC, for his long commitment to coaching at the club.
Draper said O’Keefe has shown dedication to developing junior players at the club, coaching the same team for the last four years.
“Brett’s encouragement for the team is amazing; he instills good sportsmanship and respect in the kids,” Draper said.
“The kids respond to him as he is fair and very encouraging to all of them.
“He makes it fun for them so they enjoy playing even more.”
Draper said O’Keefe also regularly dedicates his time to helping out around the club, including setting up for training sessions and games.
“He marks all the fields for the juniors the day before games which can take all day; he sets up and packs down and nothing is too hard for him,” Draper said.
O’Keefe currently coaches the Under 10 team at the club, the same team that he has coached for four seasons.
A former player at the club for over ten years, O’Keefe also previously coached the Women’s Premier League team for a season.
Humbled to receive the award, O’Keefe said he was surprised to be selected as the September Volunteer of the Month.
“I wasn’t expecting it to be honest. But I feel pretty good,” O’Keefe said.
When it comes to how he become a volunteer coach, his son wanting to play inspired him.
“My son plays so that’s why I coach and I’ve been coaching them [the team] for four years. It’s good. I love it because I love soccer,” O’Keefe said.
O’Keefe said his favourite part of volunteering at the club was spending time with the kids and doing what he loves.
“I just get a kick out of knocking the ball around with the kids,” O’Keefe said.
“While I’m coaching, when I see their little brains tick over and they make the right choice or decision on the field, and they pass the right ball to the right player at the right time; when you see it all come together, I just really enjoy that.”
Words: Vivien Topalovic