Bradford father of football kicked out of new coaching gig

“Your kids are only young once and spending a little extra time and creating new memories of being their coach is something that will last a lifetime,” says volunteer coach

Bradford’s father, Mitch Peake, has always enjoyed playing football.

“Football is a game that anyone can play. There isn’t a lot of equipment needed and it’s quite affordable for the average family,” he said.

As a youth, he played competitively for his hometown team in Orillia. But his competitive football career came to an abrupt halt at the age of 16, after he broke his leg in a semi-league final match.

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 great for cardio and you really get a full body workout when you play. Plus, it’s really fun to get out and work out. play ball with your friends,” he said.

His love for the game was passed on to his two young daughters, Mackenzie and Ryleigh, who have been playing soccer in the city’s recreational league for five years.

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

Over the past month, he’s gone from being a football dad to coaching football for his two daughters’ teams, playing back-to-back on Tuesday nights at the Portuguese Cultural Centre.

“I’m ‘Coach Dad’ now,” he laughs. “It was (football) something I really enjoyed and they both seemed to enjoy playing, so rather than sitting on the sidelines I would rather have fun with them.”

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 exercises. He recommends coaching to anyone who might think about it.

“If you want to spend a little more time doing that with your own kid and being a coach for them, I think that’s a great opportunity,” he says. “Your kids are only young once and spending a little extra time and creating new memories of being their coach is something that will last a lifetime.”

Peake says those who might be apprehensive about coaching can find plenty of resources online to help them get started.

“In addition to the other coaches who are there, let them inspire you a bit,” he says. “It’s definitely on me, if you’re on the fence about it the only way to find out if it’s for you is to go for it.”

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