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Beautiful Game thrives in Mangawhai


Beautiful GameThis year the Mangawhai Soccer Club celebrates it’s 30th birthday.

Those 30 years have not been without some ups and downs as kids get older, families move on and general migration takes it’s toll on the small local population.

However, the club is moving forward with a solid base of over 80 members from pre-schoolers to open grades, run and managed by a group of enthusiastic players, parents and helpers with a passion for the ‘beautiful’ game – and none more so than Michael Becker.

Thanks to modern technology, businessman Michael and wife Monica are able to base themselves in the tranquillity of Mangawhai rather than the city.

After attending a sports meeting to get their two young sons into soccer, their enthusiasm was quickly channelled into office-bearing positions with Michael installed as president and Monica coach of the under 4’s – now known as the Bambinis.

G e r m a n - b o r n Michael was brought up among the fervour of European soccer, playing in 4-man teams in the street where youngsters were quick to learn essential ball skills.

Numbers allow the club to field teams in the 6, 8, 10, 12, 14 and open grades who play regularly Saturdays at the Port Albert ground and comprise part of ROSA – the Rodney, Otamatea Soccer Association – which comprises teams from Kaipara, Matakana, Mangawhai, Wellsford, Kaiwaka and Maungaturoto.

The Bambibis don’t play Saturdays but practice Thursdays at the Mangawhai Domain, getting to know all about the game by learning the basics and generally having a good time.

Michael makes no secret of his passion for the game and sees his involvement as a necessary step in giving something back to the community.

“The club is grateful for the voluntary input of parents who have kept it alive in past years, many of whom will be pleased that their efforts have not been in vain as the club once again thrives,” he says.

The club is no one-man-band and Michael is quick to acknowledge the input of Grant van Dalsum, better known as a tennis coach but is a soccer fan and strong proponent of the disciplines necessary to increase the ball-handling skills of the players.

Former Chatham Cup player Jesse Van Kekem is another big plus for the club, running free after-school and holiday programmes for all players at the Tomarata grounds.

"It's competitive for the older players," says Becker "but it's mostly about having fun and learning skills in a team environment."

To give players a sense of pride and identity, Michael is currently designing a logo for the maroon and white colours of the Mangawhai Pirates.

By Rob Pooley

The Mangawhai Focus is the only 'Mangawhai' community Newspaper and is the paper of choice within the local area.

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