One of our Ashburton United Soccer Club's longest serving patrons, Barry Poulsen, turns 80 this Friday and as part of celebrations we sat down with him and got some details about his 36 years at the club.
Why did you get involved with Ashy all those years ago?
Following 15 years in NZ as a Junior and Senior player in Southland, Canterbury and Auckland in the early 60s, I crossed the Tasman for future Science employment and to continue my sporting involvement. It was a good choice to come to Glen Iris/Ashburton where strong sporting clubs were available, such as squash, badminton and football.
And what was the Club like back then?
Many may not be aware, that the Soccer club was formed by Ashburton Baptist Church in 1979 by Angie Carter and Billy Parry. Back then we had U10/12 teams entered in the Churches Competitions, however as the team numbers increased and with the addition of a Seniors team and our first Women’s team we were accepted into FFV competitions late 1989/1990, thus we became Ashburton Soccer Club Inc.
How have you seen the club grow since you started?
Early on, Richard Shaw, Iain Haviland, Michael Gurfinkiel and Peter Leaver carried a heavy work load to ensure the club was on the right path as we gained Ashburton Park as our home ground. In the early 1990s, we introduced Seniors Futsal at the new Rec Centre which is still running on Wednesday nights providing competition for 14 teams; a forerunner to the ever-popular Junior Futsal which now runs over the Summer months with age groups from U7s to U16s and has grown to include Girls Futsal at all age groups. We have also introduced a referees program for the club, which sees homegrown refs cover all matches for Miniroos and Futsal - 600/700 games over the year. We are continually providing training for new referees.
What are you most proud of as a long-standing and established member of our club?
As a community soccer club, we have done well to allow players with all levels of abilities to be part of a great club. I'm delighted we continue to improve the coaching programmes and information provided to parents on how the club operates on numerous levels. The Club has some wonderful volunteers that support the Club.
Finally, what excites you about Ashburton, going forward?
We have a bright future. Soccer is well established in Ashburton and FFV gives us a big tick for all areas of the Rules and Regulations under which we play. As we approach 2018/19 and planning for summer futsal, this will be some 36 years of service to Ashy and it's been a pleasure to be part of a successful FFV club.