Alan Adams: ‘For the Love of Football’
Alan Adams was a dedicated coach, father and overall support person to many people in the Canberra football community. Alan’s past players, co-workers and fellow football parents reflect on his contributions.
As a football coach who worked alongside Alan, Bree van Aaken reflects on the support Alan gave her when thrown in the deep end:
“When I was invited to attend a training session to see what team I would best fit into, a lady asked me if I wanted to coach. At that stage I had only played indoor fluffy ball and futsal…but this lady wasn’t going to take no for an answer… Before I could say much, I was handed a SL2 team with 17 already skilled young ladies to coach, complete with a soccer ball and about 6 training cones. It was a battle for all of us, but training next to us each week was Alan’s SL1 team… Thank goodness for Alan!
When I thought about giving up, Alan would give me tips and sometimes combine training sessions so that my team could get some more benefit from their training sessions. Alan was always there for both me as a struggling new coach and for the team of amazing young ladies who were doing their best to accommodate my coaching efforts.
Thanks Alan… I’ll always remember your smile and laughter and how welcoming and supportive you were…forever grateful”.
Jess Dowdall, a former player coached by Alan, talks about the generosity and dedication Alan had for his players:
“Alan Adams, one of the best humans I’ve ever got the chance to know. Al started coaching us 2009 he was patient with us. Coaching us young adult women with big personalities would have been difficult at times but Al coached with ease. He coached us for many years. He was the best, never short of conversations. He would often talk until the lights shut off at the fields or he walked you out to your car, 30 minutes later you’d still
be sitting there in the car with it running and the window down talking. He’s the type of guy that would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it. He opened his arms and welcomed me into his family. We joked that I was the adopted 3rd daughter (the favourite daughter). I spent most of my spare time at his place with Cass and Emilie. Al and his family quickly became my safe place where I can show up any time of the night and day. He was a positive role model that came into my life at a time I really needed and for that I’m forever grateful. I miss your dad jokes, your pork roast and our late night chats. I’m truly blessed to have known you. Until we meet again, rest easy big Al”.
As a fellow football parent, Laura Jennings discusses the connectedness and warmth Alan brought to the local football community:
“I met Al and his wife Jo, when their youngest daughter Emilie joined the TUFC women’s program. I saw Al help as a parent and eventually president of the TUFC women’s club. He was truly a one of a kind bloke with a heart of gold. He gave all of himself to women’s football genuinely, enthusiastically and with true warmth. I’ll always remember seeing that amazing big smile of his and him saying “Hi Loz”. Al was not just there to help in the soccer side of things, he also assisted me with career advice as well. I will always remember him fondly”.
In a letter written to Alan before his passing, Simone Kelly reflects on the impact “Big Al” had on her life:
It’s been a while since we have caught up and I’m sorry it’s under these circumstances we are reconnecting. You were such a big part of my life for many years and as an angsty young adult I didn’t have the awareness to appreciate or voice that at the time.
I appreciate the time you always took to check in on me with your massive smile and cheeky jokes. A big kid at heart.. you made such a difference in a difficult time in my life without realizing it. You provided a safe place for me to just be me, warts and all, doing something we all loved through soccer. That will always mean so much to me.
Your unwavering encouragement and support on and off the field means the world to me. I wouldn’t be where I am without your influence on my life Al.
You’re a one of a kind big Al and I’m so deeply sorry you and your family have been dealt these cards. You’re all wonderful people deserving of all the good things. It’s a beautiful thing to be surrounded by so much love and have so many people adore you Al, you’re a lucky man, as are Jo and the girls for having you as their leading man.
Thank you for being you in this world, the world needs more Alan Adams.
Reflecting on Alan’s fun coaching style, Kelly Barnes discusses the support her and her teammates felt in Alan’s team:
“Alan was a great coach because he was not like any other coach I ever had. He let us all be our crazy, rebellious teenage selves while at soccer. He made sure training and games were always fun. We would have been so hard for him to control but he did not mind. He was so patient, kind and friendly. He was always supportive. He always built up your confidence, never made you feel upset. I really appreciated the positive encouragement. I think it is one key reason many of us from the team have such fond memories from the years we played in Alan’s team.
I am not sure I can have one favourite memory because there were so many. I loved that he would invite you over to his place for a BBQ. Both Alan’s daughters (Emilie andCassie) played soccer as well so many ofus would head over to Alan’s house for BBQs, dinner or just to hang out…Alan [also] used to drive us to see Canberra United games. We never passed up the offer. Memories I will have forever.
When I reflect, I think his kindness and patience and such positivity are real keys to a good life. I think if we could all embody a bit more of Alan in life, it would create more smiles, laughter and support…He was always happy to help anyone in need”.