Co-ordinators say role like fulltime work

Roslyn Wakari AFC's junior co-ordinators Jo Stewart (left) and Belinda Hunsche. PHOTO: JESSICA...
Roslyn Wakari AFC's junior co-ordinators Jo Stewart (left) and Belinda Hunsche. PHOTO: JESSICA WILSON
In a series, The Star reporter Jessica Wilson aims to highlight unsung heroes of Dunedin’s sporting community. This week, she talks to football volunteers Belinda Hunsche and Jo Stewart.

When Belinda Hunsche and Jo Stewart became Roslyn Wakari AFC's junior co-ordinators, it was like starting a fulltime job.

The pair took on the role in February and began preparing for the season that started on May 1.

They organised all the behind-the-scenes details such as registrations, teams, uniforms, payments, player of the day certificates and gear.

That added up to about 30 hours of work a week — all while having families and jobs.

Without the grade team leaders, it would have taken longer, they said.

"It was a lot of work," Hunsche said.

"It’s like a fulltime job."

The football club has 276 junior players in 28 teams, ranging from 6th grade to youth (under-18).

Five of those teams are all girls (9th, 10th, 11th, 12th and 13th grades) and 73 of the 276 players are girls.

A big influx of girls recently joined the club, which had a great pathway for them to play.

Once they were too old for the 13th grade, they could move into one of the three women’s teams and play in the senior grade.

"Then they’re playing just against women, not playing in the under-18 [grade] against teenage boys," Hunsche said.

"It works really well.

"That’s why lots of them have moved clubs this year . . . to Roslyn."

Saturdays are usually spent darting from one game to the next.

Hunsche plays in the women’s team, Stewart’s husband coaches the third team, and their children play.

They try to watch other teams when they can, and often catch up with the juniors at practices.

Two weeks ago, they coached the 6th grade team’s training so it did not have to be cancelled.

While they were unsure if they would stay in the roles next year, they agreed it was great to have a friend alongside them.

"The good thing is, because Belinda is so amazing, she’s got things set up so if we didn’t do it next year the process will be a lot smoother," Stewart said.

Although it was a big job, seeing everything fall into place on game day was wonderful.

"Seeing everyone playing and the results coming in and then some of the kids coming back to the club at the end of the day, that made it all worth it," Hunsche said.

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