Bulwarks of Tweed soccer calling it quits
By TANIA PHILIPS
TWO people who have shaped the careers of some of the Tweed's best young soccer players in recent years have stepped away from the positions that they have made their own.
Murwillumbah Services mens premier league coach John Bruggy and Tweed Heads Women's premier league mentor Belinda Kitching both called it quits at the end of this season and both clubs are now busy trying to fill some very big shoes.
Bruggy, who has been coaching for more than 30 years, has been mentor of the Murwillumbah Services top team for the past three years overseeing the club's return from first division to premier league and then presiding over the club's most successful premier league season for many years.
"My sole purpose in taking the top job when they dropped down to first division was to get them back," he said. "I always thought we deserved to be there even though we had struggled a little in premier league - I never thought it would be a difficult task."
He said it had always been a matter of lifting the status of the club and letting the players believe in themselves.
Murwillumbah took just two years to return to the top flight, with Bruggy staying on to oversee the first year - a year in which they proved they are more than competitive and spent most of the season in the top three before eventually finishing mid-table.
Bruggy now feels it is time to get some new blood and ideas for the side so they will continue to go forward, although he will continue his involvement the club's youth development program.
"I have only ever taken a team for two years at a time," he said.
"That probably suits my coaching style - I tend to be an intense coach - it gets results but it can be too much if you do it for too long. That (the intensity) is one of the main reasons I put the management team together last season."
Belinda Kitching, the former Matilda's goalkeeper and World Cup player, came to Tweed in 2001 as a player and took over the coaching in 2002.
In that time the side has finished in the top four every year winning three grand final titles.
"The squad we have had for the past five years has set the standard on the Coast," she said adding that other teams had lifted their standard at the same time.
"Now there are five good even teams in our competition five years ago there was probably only two or three."
Increasing work commitments have forced Kitching out of the club job although she will continue on as the Gold Coast Women's Open representative coach for next year's state titles.