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HELPERS: Bradford dad gets kick out of new coaching gig

'Your kids are only young once and to spend a little bit of extra time, and create some new memories of being their coach, that's stuff that's going to last a lifetime,' says Bradford volunteer coach
Mitch Peake is coaching both his girls’ soccer team's this summer

Bradford dad Mitch Peake has always loved playing soccer.

"Soccer is a game that anyone can play. There's not a lot of equipment needed and it's pretty affordable to the average family," he said. 

In his youth, he played competitively for his hometown team in Orillia.

But his competitive soccer career came to an abrupt halt at the age of 16, after he broke his leg in a semi-championship final game.

Over the years, he continued to play in adult leagues and pickup games for fun.

"It's a great way to get out and exercise. It's excellent for cardio and you really get a full body workout when you play. And on top of that it's really fun to get out and kick the ball around with your friends," he said. 

His love for the game has been passed on to his two young daughters, Mackenize and Ryleigh, who have been playing recreational league soccer in town for the past five years. 

When an email went out earlier this spring looking for parent volunteer coaches for the season, Peake didn't hesitate to put his name on the list. 

Over the past month, he has gone from sideline soccer dad to soccer coach for both his daughters' teams, playing back to back on Tuesday nights at the Portuguese Cultural Centre. 

"I am now Coach Dad," he said with a laugh. "It (soccer) was something that I really enjoyed and they both seem to enjoy playing, so rather than sitting on the sidelines, I'd rather be out there having fun with them," he said. 

Peake is coaching two groups of over 20 young girls this season, which he says has been busy, but as a teacher by trade, he is used to working with large groups of students, helping them to achieve their goals.

Each week he comes to the field early to help set up the nets and pylons to prepare for the week's lesson and drills. He recommends coaching to anyone who may be thinking about it. 

"If you want to spend a little bit of extra time doing this with your own child, and be a coach for them, I think it's a great opportunity," he said. "Your kids are only young once and to spend a little bit of extra time, and create some new memories of being their coach, that's stuff that's going to last a lifetime."

He says those who may be apprehensive about coaching can find many resources online to help get started. 

"Plus the other coaches that are there, let them inspire you a little bit," he said. "It's definitely for me, if you're on the fence about it the only to find out if it's for you is to just go for it."

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Natasha Philpott

About the Author: Natasha Philpott

Natasha is the Editor for BradfordToday and InnisfilToday. She graduated from the Media Studies program at The University of Guelph-Humber. She lives in Bradford with her husband, two boys and two cats.
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