In 2018 the football fantasy came crashing down painfully for Lachy Sole.
The talented youngster was playing reserve grade when he suffered an injury – a dislocated kneecap – that took away his season.
“I actually went to kick the ball out when it happened and luckily the striker came up behind me and kicked the kneecap back in,” Lachy, now 18, recalled.
While his immediate playing career was on hold, he was determined to stay involved.
“I still wanted to be part of football and my club Urunga needed a coach so I thought I would give it a go,” Lachy said.
So the baptism of fire with the clipboard started with the Under 12s Raiders – and he guided them to a semi-final on debut.
And he hasn’t looked back – staying with that same group through the ages and impressing all and sundry on the way to his announcement as this year’s Newcastle Permanent Community Coach of the Month for October.
This season, at the helm of the now Under 14s, the girls finished third (10 wins, four losses) and are looking toward the finals series.
Lachy is the Newcastle Permanent Community Recognition Award as Coach of the month for October 2020.
Lachy said the transition from player to coach had been rewarding.
“I just love it. It’s great to see the players evolve – both in games and as people,” he said.
Far from game day being an anxious time, Lachy said his job is focussed on the time between fixtures.
“The way I see it is that I coach them at training and once they’re on the field (in a match) it’s up to them,” he said.
“I’m just seeing then if they can execute what we have been working on.”
Lachy’s progress as a mentor has seen him invited to rep coach one of the NPL youth teams next season – a tremendous development opportunity.
2020 has already been a huge year for the teen Raider – and he’s mindful that it so easily could not have been so.
“I said to the girls just enjoy what you have so far because I thought we might get a second wave (coronavirus) but fortunately that didn’t happen in our area,” Lachy said.