At 22, Forest Killarney FC have a gem of a volunteer in the club’s highly talented and passionate football tragic, the Communications and Social Media Manager as well as keen footballer Patrick Ewing.
Football you could say runs in the blood of the Ewing family.
Patrick’s father was the club’s President when he was 7 years of age and it was there and then he knew the beautiful game of football was where he wanted to be.
“I’m so proud of what my father achieved, and I saw all the hard work he put in dedicating his life to the game.
“I myself was first exposed to the sport when I was a 5-year-old. I played for the club’s Under 6’s and haven’t stopped playing where I now find myself doing my thing in the club’s Men’s AL 1 side along with 20 other Forest Killarney FC juniors out of a squad of 37.
“My love for football like many others started with watching the top club sides of the early 2000s such as Real Madrid, AC Milan, Manchester United, Barcelona, and national teams like Brazil and Spain.
“Now though, a lot of it comes from the mateship we have in our Senior Men’s side.
“Most of us have played together for years, whilst others have joined up more recently and become a part of the family.
“I enjoy going to training and games and look forward to it all day at work, because it’s the same as going to the pub with mates for me, I get to see all my good mates and have a good time playing football at the same time.”
Currently in his eighteenth season at the club, Ewing holds the key to promoting the ambitious Manly Warringah Football Association (MWFA) club to its membership and beyond.
“A friend and I both create and manage the Club’s digital content in order to provide the players at our club as well as club sponsors with as much exposure as we can.
“We do this because for a long while our Club would lose players between the ages of around 15 to 18 due to a plethora of reasons, from a loss of passion for the game to school and university commitments.
“We’ve found that by praising our younger players especially, we make them want to get better and perform so that they can be highlighted on our social media accounts and eventually become a part of our very close-knit senior sides.”
Blessed with a strong community presence in the local area, Ewing stressed the important role volunteers have played in the continual development of the sport.
“I can say for sure that without our volunteers, the club wouldn’t run, full stop.
“Without coaches for our teams, who would teach our juniors how to play?
“Without our managers, who’d organise 15+ people at a time every week with absolute precision?
“Without our committee, who’d run and drive the club towards the future and immeasurable potential we know it has?
“Without any of our volunteers, the club’s well-working machine would cease to run, even the smallest of roles are important to us.
“Without them, someone else would have to fill their role and nowadays where people are extremely busy all the time with work, education and parenting commitments, it’d be hard to find.”
On a personal level, the club boosts a committee of 25 people while as many as 200 volunteers in the coaching and managing scene, all of which play a pivotal role in keeping each and every Forest Killarney participant happy and raring to go each and every weekend.
“We are fortunate to have some of the best volunteers in the state.
“To start off with, we have a large committee of around 25 people. Then we have a majority of our coaches and managers of our 100 teams within the club, then the lovely Vaccarella family and Pete Salminen that run our canteen and bar, as well as a large group of parents and players that rotate helping out on various odd jobs.
“All up I’d say easily around 200+ volunteers.”
Dream big and you’ll see the benefits come to you slowly but surely, that is the message Ewing and co have pushed in their objectives for the 2021 grassroots season and beyond.
“We are really going for it in 2021 as next year is our clubs’ 60th Year Anniversary.
“We’ve really made something out of our social media showcasing our wonderful club sponsors who honestly saved us from the brink in the hard year that was 2020, as well as providing a platform for all our players and coaches to have a laugh and get some exposure for their teams.
“We have our first Forest Killarney FC Members Day coming up on Sunday the 22nd of May, with all proceeds raised from our raffle, donations, and Men’s AL1 team head shaves going towards Neuroblastoma Australia, aimed at fighting Neuroblastoma (a debilitating cancer impacting children between 0-5 years old).
“All our efforts with our social media and events are all pointing towards the club goal of a more together footballing community, with clear pathways and links between our Junior teams, all the way to our Senior teams.
“We want to bridge the gap between age groups and really encourage a togetherness where our junior players recognise and look up to our former Forest Killarney FC juniors who are now playing in our top senior sides, or in the NPL and A-League.
“The long-term goal, Forest Killarney FC are striving towards becoming a member of the National Premier Leagues NSW as the Northern Beaches area as a whole is quite poorly represented with only the one team in Manly United FC.
“We know from experience that the area is brimming with talent that obviously cannot all fit into a single NPL team, but having another team in the area would give more players that chance to take their footballing journeys to a new level.”