Keith Marks (February 2006)Lets start with something that Keith Marks only briefly touches on at the very end of his own words about why he gets involved, in terms of his activities outside Kewford Eagles. "I'm organising a 3 peak challenge in the Summer to raise money for cancer charities, so extra training will be the order of the day". Then, in terms of involvement with the club, something else . . . . . . "Doing something for the local community also seems very true, as lads have little to do at weekends when they've attended school all week. At Kewford, we give them an interest". You now start to get a picture of this person in those two sentences.
It was April 2001. It was the very first time we'd run the Feeder Group, to bring in new players, and parents, at Year 1. This was a slightly nerve-wracking time for those responsible for creating this whole new process in the club. We were in uncharted territory, and it could have been difficult if we didn't somehow lock onto the right new parents who seemed enthusiastic, capable and helpful enough to want to take on a brand new challenge for themselves - coaching and managing a team for Kewford Eagles Under 7's the following season. Step forward Keith Marks. Since that point, when Keith was first asked to look after a team, it became almost natural that, eventually, Keith would take on greater responsibility within the club, as he latched onto Kewford, and Kewford latched onto him.
From that point, Keith committed himself to helping out Kewford wherever he could. With his son Joe coming into the Kewford team at Under 7, Keith took to the new responsibility with the same care and attention to people that he shows in his everyday life - approachable, seemingly unflappable, capable and willing to help others. Wendy, his wife, may tell us different, but this is the Keith we've come to know, like and respect.
Since those early days, Keith was able to take his young group of players forward from Under 7 to Under 11 and the eleven a-side game. It is unfortunate that Keith has had to face a disappointment this season, as his team has had to fold - one of those almost inevitable consequences of stiff competition, plus school and friendship loyalties taking precedence with players.
BUT, this does not get Keith down in terms of the club, and his enthusiasm for Kewford has not wavered. For the last four years, Keith has been the club Mini Soccer Development Manager, taking charge of the Feeder Group initial process, ensuring that players are developed early on, that teams are selected, that team managers and the team of parents are supported as they go forward. Recently involved in the new initiative for an Under 6 Feeder Group, Keith has worked hard with his club colleagues, in meetings or at the coaching sessions, to ensure we have a happy new group of players and parents who want to be a part of the club. In his own words. "I found the whole experience of mini-soccer enjoyable, from Under 6 through to Under 10, I had some brilliant lads play for me, and made some good friends through mini soccer." The support Keith provides is vital for the newly-formed ranks of Under 7 and Under 8 age groups, where the early passions and frustrations can often exhibit themselves in less than positive ways, as people go through their own unique "team building" exercises! This is a role which needs a certain type of character and approach. Keith has the ability to help people and teams through their initial difficulties - or be assertive enough when the occasion demands. More often than not, people will be thankful they have someone to talk to who isn't directly connected with their team, who can listen, and, through experience gained over the years, offer some helpful advice to enable them to go forward. In large part, that's what Keith provides.
We now await young Jack's entrance, Keith and Wendy's youngest, in a few years time to the world of Kewford. More young Marks's in the Eagles ranks can't be bad. Thanks, Keith, for the time, effort, thinking and friendship you've put into the club.
The final words must go to Keith . . "Volunteering gives me immense pleasure, from forming squads of very enthusiastic young player's , and then guiding them"