PARKWOOD resident Tony Campbell has dedicated his life to football recalling first playing the sport on the streets of England when he was a kid.
Since then he has played in the five-a-side WA team when he was 15 and in Perth’s premier league.
Mr Campbell,39, now runs one of Perth’s four selective soccer academies located at Lynwood Senior High School where for the past 10 years he has coached anywhere from three to five football teams each year.
He first started coaching when he was 14 as a student at All Saint’s College in Bull Creek and over the decades since then has coached amateurs, state league players and state teams.
“I have a passion for the sport. If you see where some kids have come from and you see where you can get them to, it is rewarding.
“I enjoy seeing the growth and development of those kids.”
Aside from coaching aspiring football stars at the academy, Mr Campbell is vice president and coach at Lynwood United Soccer Club.
For the past six years, he has volunteered at least 20 hours a week at the club training 70 or so players in the u9 and u11 teams each season.
He has also helped the club grow by setting up its web site, developing a mentor scheme for junior players, taking on the role of joint registrar and organised the junior five-a-side charity fundraising competition for childhood leukaemia.
Mr Campbell said key ingredients to becoming a good football player included not only training hard but also approaching the sport with the right attitude.
“You can be as skilled as you want but if you haven’t got the attitude… attitude is one of the things we focus on at the academy,” he said.
“I can take losing and drawing as a coach provided you have gone in and done your best.”
He said the majority of players he coached at the academy would not go on to play professional football but his aim was to imbue a love of the sport in students.
“It is one player in millions that becomes a top-level professional player so that is not the goal. My goal is if I get 20 kids at year 8 and they are still playing the sport into their thirties then that to me is my job done.”
Mr Campbell was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2010 and although symptom free and relatively healthy he does not let the chronic fatigue associated with the medical condition deter him from his coaching at the club or school.
“I think I am one of the fortunate ones at the minute in the sense it doesn’t have a huge impact on my life.
“To me staying healthy is one of the key things, reducing the stress and enjoying the moment,” he said.