Op/Ed: Darien High soccer coach shoots “straight from the heart”
Orginally from London, England, where he played “football,” Jonathan Bradley is the varsity soccer coach at Darien High School and Darien Soccer Association coaching director. He was voted 2011 FCIAC coach of the year for Boys Varsity Soccer and MSG Varsity CT Coach of the Year 2011. Jon was Darien High School girls varsity coach from 2006-2010 and was voted 2005 and 2008 FCIAC coach of the year for girls varsity soccer.
He reached out to the Darien Times to share his thoughts during this tough time.
I have been in the town coaching soccer for the DSA and the high school since 2002.
This community has been wonderful to me and my family for a long time. Coaching is my only source of income, like many soccer coaches around town, and the Darien soccer community has rallied around the coaches like nothing I have ever seen. The DSA board and it's President Mike Moore had a tough decision to cancel the season early, but it was the correct one. To then have to ask parents to donate to a coaches’ relief fund is definitely not easy. The coaches are so grateful to the board and to the community for helping coaches to survive these sad times.
The support and donations from parents to the DSA coaches has been incredible. The soccer community has a special place in my heart.
Now for the hard part. What do we do next? These times are new for us all and to say when we should open up the world is very hard to say. This comes from a man whose livelihood depends on us opening up and allowing soccer to become a part of kids lives again. These are emotional times for parents,grandparents,kids and society as a whole is struggling. In my opinion there is no right answer. I have sat here and watched a friend pass away and as recently as last week my step brother passed in London from this invisible enemy. Watching zoom funerals and burials I would not wish on anyone. Dealing with family members left helpless and not being able to say goodbye is devastating.
Life does go on...but how?
Social media is not helping any of us. Speculation, bickering, personal attacks — and overnight everyone became a medical expert —but who really knows.
I do not remember the last time I had a good night’s sleep worrying about when I would be able to work again and the reality dawned on me today, we just do not know. I know how many kids I am comfortable coaching and I know when I would start and my answer is tomorrow.
This does not mean 100 kids running around the Oval playing lacrosse or soccer it means a small group of young players in a controlled environment with a professional coach working with them. Not only do kids need fresh air and exercise but they need something to look forward to and a sense of purpose and if only for that short time once or twice a week they would get it back.
A small sense of independence where they get to see their friends and socialize and get to start getting used to what will become our new norm. They deserve it as in a split second everything was taken away. School,sports,seeing friends and just being a kid is what they deserve but how do we make this happen and my answer is baby steps. Somehow, some way this has to happen.
Stay safe and well.
More info: DarienSoccer.org