Tonight, we have the opportunity to officially thank and recognise the individual commitment and achievement of one of our clubs most valued volunteers. Since joining the Maryborough Soccer Club Committee in 2012, Paul Micallef has been an integral part of helping revitalise the sport of soccer here in the Central Goldfields Shire. Paul first joined the committee as a response to the cry of help put out to the soccer public five years ago when volunteer numbers were at an all-time low. His involvement with the MSC begun however when his Son, James, began playing the sport almost 8 years ago. I’ve had the privilege of working alongside Paul since 2012 as we both joined the committee at the same time. Paul was never very vocal at our meetings but when there was a job that needed doing, that’s when he would always raise his hand and volunteer. It should be noted that these were very sensitive times for the Maryborough Soccer Club. For a period of time over the 2012 and 2013 seasons, the future for our once proud club was looking very bleak. I truly believe that it is due to steady hands at the helm and with people such as Paul who have an unrelenting passion and commitment for the game, that our club was able to turn this bleak forecast around and become what is now one of the biggest clubs in the region.
Paul continued volunteering his time wherever he could throughout the 2012 and 2013 seasons but it was in 2014 that Paul really started to go above and beyond for our club and its members. During that season Paul took up the role of coaching our Under 7’s and Under 9’s as well as head referee for our Under 16’s competition. It is hard to imagine today that our Under 7’s and 9’s began with as few as 20 kids turning up of a Saturday but in full credit to Paul, his professionalism and patience with these kids and the way he ran their competition of a Saturday morning has helped grow that competition to having over 50 participants in the 2017 season. There was never anything but positive feedback about Paul and his coaching of these young soccer stars from parents and the players themselves. In 2015 Paul continued coaching our under 7’s and under 9’s as well as refereeing our Under 16’s competition, but then also took on the groundskeeping position. This is a massive task that should never be underestimated And Paul has occupied the groundskeeping position at the MSC for the past 3 years. From 2015 until today, Paul has been the first person at the ground of a Saturday morning and the last to leave. Regardless of the weather, he would be there at ridiculous hours of the morning making sure everything from the lines to the nets was ready to go for our juniors to kick off at 9am. Paul would be there in frost, and sometimes even in the dark setting up our ground so that when everyone arrived, the work had already been done. But Paul is not only preparing the ground on a Saturday, Paul can often be seen at least once or twice a week at the grounds, marking lines or cleaning out our canteen. His work as head referee of our Under 16’s competition has also been invaluable. With his experience of the world game, Paul has supported our young and upcoming referees through their development, always encouraging them to continually improve and to go further with their refereeing career. I think we have some referees in this room who do owe a lot to Paul. Not only has Paul supported our referees, he has also always supported our players, helping them to not only improve their game but to improve as overall people.
This year, on top of all this other commitments Paul also took on the role of Technical Director, helping to maintain communication between the committee, our players, our referees and our coaches. Paul has also been a passionate supporter of our BDSA senior soccer side, taking on yet another role as our 2017 team manager. Paul has also stepped in to referee some of our senior BDSA matches, something that is incredibly tough to do.
Through all the work that Paul has done over the past 5 years at the Maryborough Soccer Club, he has only ever had the club in mind. It is important to point out that his son stopped playing soccer two years ago. It is also important to point out that during 2017, his physical health has caused him incredible pain, especially when refereeing. But not once has Paul complained, not once has he thrown in the towel and not once has he taken out anything on those around him. He never asks for any rewards or recognition for that he does for our club. He has always told me that he simply does it for the kids. Paul is a true gentleman and someone who will support his friends no matter what. And regardless of what we on the committee are going through, Paul has always been there for us. “You need anything, just give me a call” is his catch phrase whenever he farewells a friend. Unfortunately, Paul is unable to continue his service to the Maryborough Soccer Club as he looks to move to be closer to his family, which is why we take our opportunity tonight to thank him for all he has done. I’ve personally become very close friends with Paul over the past 5 years and he has certainly helped me to become a better person and for that I cannot thank him enough. It is therefore with great pride that I have the honour here tonight as President to officially recognise Paul Micallef’s contributions to the Maryborough Soccer Club by inducting him as a life Member. Could you please join me in congratulating Paul and thanking him for his incredible work.
- 2017 MSC President Jackson Barby