A Mission football coach has been honoured with a Long Service Award by the British Columbia Community Football Association (BCCFA).
Fred Cunningham, the 63-year old coach for the Mission Niners has been coaching the city’s youth to play football for over 20 years. He said he was taken aback by the award.
“I was surprised, you know, because I do it for the love of the game and the kids and not for my own personal accolades,” Cunningham said. “It keeps me motivated.”
He said he will continue to teach kids to play a safe game of football. The BCCFA is a grassroots community league made up of teams from Mission, Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Langley and Maple Ridge.
It offers young kids a chance to play the game before they age out and join the high school teams, Cunningham said, adding that the NFL’s Chase Claypool grew up in the BCCFA playing for Abbotsford.
He wants to spread the word that you don’t have to wait until high school to join the game.
The Mission Niners have approximately 100 players across five age brackets, ranging from five to 15-year olds.
“We’re the catalysts, we start them on the road,” Cunningham said.
The Mission Sports Park is their home field, and they practise four hours a week, and play games on Saturday.