When Cambridge’s Phoenix junior team needed a coach last year, Phil Burkett stepped up for the challenge.
It didn’t matter that the role would require two round-trips a week to Cambridge from his home in Taumarunui.
Now in his second year as the team’s coach, Burkett has the 320km weekly routine down to a fine art as the Phoenix (who play in the Waikato 10th grade) train on Thursday nights and play on Saturday mornings.
“I drive to and from training on Thursdays, and then come back on Fridays to stay overnight in Cambridge,” he explained.
“It’s all good.”
Burkett, whose grandson Flynn Jennings plays for the Phoenix, is one of a large number of volunteers who enable more than 500 junior players to enjoy winter football.
Cambridge FC, which provides winter football for 650+ senior and junior players and summer football for more than 300, is a volunteer-run sports club.
When the club received its Quality Club Mark – and quality assurance standard – assessors estimated volunteers contribute more than 30,000 hours of unpaid labour each year.
Photo: Coach Phil Burkett with members of the Phoenix squad