When he agreed to be the ‘interim coach’ in June 2011, Rodney Glade from The Hill had no idea it was the beginning of a nine-year journey as a soccer coach of the then Linhill Celtic u-7 boys team.
Looking back, he said he had no idea what he had let himself into, but he knew from the word go he wanted to educate these youngsters about life through soccer to become responsible young men in society.
Coach Rods, as he is affectionately known by the ‘Stars’, as he calls them, furthermore said, “I wanted them to learn about life in a fun way by comparing incidents during games versus real life lessons.”
During his tenure he attributed the reasons for the success of the team to three life goals because it is relevant in life and soccer:
1. If you work hard in a game, nine out of 10 you will win – in life if you work hard you will achieve the goals you set for yourself.
2. If you are lazy and train when it suits you, you may lose or draw that game – in life if you do not give 100 per cent you are likely to under achieve and not receive full benefits.
3. If you do not train at all and depend on others you are bound to lose that game – in real life you will most definitely not achieve anything and you will fail in whatever you do.
Following these life goals certainly paid off in the long run for both coach and the Stars.
Their achievements include winning the league in 2016 with 15 straight wins, no draws and no losses (indicating that they are learning about life – teamwork, perseverance, dedication, focus and help where help is needed) and also winning The Closing Tournament the very same year.
It was not always smooth sailing though. A big frustration was with parents not supporting their boys irrespective of the type of players they were.
“We never gave up, we kept on inviting parents until they started to attend training and games and with their support, the team just grew from strength to strength.
“My advice to other coaches; over and above knowledge and qualifications, learn to know your players on all levels and most importantly, listen when they talk and never give them false hope, no matter what the situation,” said Rods.
At the end of 2019, Rods retired from coaching, but said he is confident that he has prepared the Stars for their next chapter in the sporting life.
This and that
· He coached for nine years at Linhill Celtic.
· He started when some boys were six-years-old.
· Last year those boys were in u-15.
· He is turning 56 this year.
· He loves his community and his family.