Highlanders winning off the soccer field

GLEN INNES DOUBLE: Preston Parkes and Chris Wilson received awards from Northern Inland Football for their off-field efforts.
GLEN INNES DOUBLE: Preston Parkes and Chris Wilson received awards from Northern Inland Football for their off-field efforts.

The Highlanders are often spoken about for their on-field dominance but it is the club’s off-field contributors who are now in the spotlight. 

Preston Parkes was named Northern Inland Football’s volunteer of the month for June while Chris Wilson was named the community coach of the month. 

Parkes was recognised for his ongoing comittment to the club. 

He took on the roll of Highlanders president this year after five years on the committee and said he can often be found at the fields bright and early on game day. 

“I fill in as coach for teams when needed across all ages,” he said.

“I’m usually the first one to the grounds on a Saturday and start getting out the nets, bins and signs for the day. I make sure the toilets are open and clean.”

Parkes first arrived in Glen Innes 12 years ago and joined up to the club straight away. 

He stopped playing shortly after starting on the committee but said he enjoys staying involved to help out his children. 

“Just seeing the kids enjoy playing,” he said. 

“I have a joke with them during the games, while helping them understand where to stand and how to pass. Some of them don’t like to stand near me when a good song comes over the PA, because I will dance.”

He received a volunteer jacket and bag as part of the award. 

Like Parkes, Wilson was thrilled to receive the recognition and said it was important to be involved help keep the sport strong locally. 

He volunteers his time to guide the under 12s representative team, co-ordinate local carnivals and take control of the 11-14 year-old division on Saturdays. 

Wilson said it was important to him to guide the club’s young players and help them improve on and off the field. 

“GIDFA has given me the chance to be involved with the youth within our club and to pass on my knowledge and skills of soccer on to the children, to help develop their skills and knowledge as well as giving me the chance to expand my coaching skills,” he said. 

“The main thing I enjoy is seeing the children's level of skills develop and their confidence with in themselves grow through out each season as well as seeing the drills we practice at our training sessions come into play on the field and the new friendships that develop with in our soccer club.

“I would also like to say thank you to all parents and children for there on going support and the recognition.” 

He received a coaching pack which includes balls, bibs, a whistle, shirt and cap to help him continue in his role leading the club’s future stars.