James Brown has had a life-long love of soccer (or football as he calls it!) but a small mountain of injuries saw him exchange his footy boots for a coach’s hat to train young people in his favourite sport.
Originally from the UK, James Brown moved to Hedland around three years ago and brought his passion for the game, volunteering and coaching to the Hedland Junior Soccer Association.
A Manchester United fan, James is passionate about ensuring local kids have the opportunity to take up the sport—not only to generate more love for the game but to help with their health and mental well-being.
As the Sports and Facilities officer at the Town of Port Hedland, James literally lives and breathes sport, and when he’s not at work, you’ll find him down at the soccer pitch coaching the Under 13s Representative Squad, as well as the Under 15s team in the local competition.
“I get a sense of satisfaction and purpose. I’m helping these kids develop excellent skills on and off the pitch,” he said.
“I think that taking to the field and playing sports is one of the best things for your mental health, while also helping physical health.”
James has funded his own travel to Broome and Perth with the association to make sure the teams he coaches can play in the bigger competitions.
He said a highlight was last year’s Country Week championships, where Hedland faced the likes of bigger towns like Bunbury, Karratha and Geraldton.
“We won the championship at 2021 Country Week in Perth, which was a huge accomplishment for a small community such as Hedland,” he said.
He was nominated as a Hedland Hero by Tricia Hebbard and her son Aidan, who said the amount of time James pours into volunteering at the club is incredible, and his supportive, polite demeanour help to make him a great coach.