Bonivital Soccer Club put a wrap on its outdoor season by honouring some of its finest players, coaches, volunteers and referees at its annual banquet on Nov. 4.
Thirteen awards were handed out by the club to contributors at all levels, from recreational to premier.
Kristjan Nordman was named the developmental coach of the year for his work with the under-12 boys, not a bad accomplishment considering it was his first season as a head coach.
"We had a great season," said the 22-year-old from St. Vital, who juggled his coaching duties with a full-time job and a spot on the WSA Winnipeg roster. "We lost in the finals, but it didn’t take anything away from all the other great success we had."
Nordman pointed out that wins and losses aren’t considered important at the developmental level. The focus, he said, is on "performance before results."
"All the kids improved a ton, from the worst player to the best player," he said. "They all had fun and all got better."
Nordman is expecting to move up an age category with his players next year in order to continue to build their skills.
After helping his father, Greg, as an assistant coach for the past five seasons, Nordman said it was quite an adjustment to being the person in charge.
"It was different to have that kind of control and responsibility," he said. "I learned a lot from being my dad’s assistant in the past. I took a lot of that experience with me."
Bonivital soccer is also a big part of Gary Coleman’s family. Coleman was named the recipient of the Fred Van Dongen President’s Award for his contribution to the club over the past 12 years.
Coleman, a St. Vital resident, has been coaching soccer since 1993 and started as a convenor in Windsor Park in 1997. He joined the Bonivital board in 2000 and served two terms as its president over the last four years.
The native of England knew the game intimately, and began coaching his three children as soon as they were old enough to kick a ball. In eight seasons he coached two different teams, and one year he coached all three kids.
"I think the most rewarding thing — putting aside being with your kids all the time — is seeing the club grow the way it has," Coleman said. "It’s changed dramatically to a real developmental club."
The club now has a soccer academy, an indoor program that keeps kids playing the sport year-round and a major emphasis on developing elite talent.
Now that his time as president has come to an end, Coleman plans to take some time away from the pitch. But not too much.
"My granddaughter is one year old," he said. "I’m waiting four or five years to coach her."
Complete list of winners:
Volunteer of the Year: Martin Robinson
Referee of the Year: The Kozakewich Family
Recreational Coach of the Year: Rishi Chandar & Ian Seunarine
Developmental Male Player of the Year: Eric Chaput
Developmental Female Player of the Year: Alycia Mann
Developmental Coach of the Year: Kristjan Nordman
Premier-Developmental Male Player of the Year: Howard Monson
Premier-Developmental Female Player of the Year: Jenny Melsted
Premier-Developmental Coach of the Year: Wayne Sage
Premier Male Player of the Year: Braeden Cornick
Premier Female Player of the Year: Fatemeh Bakhtiari
Premier Coach of the Year: James Silva
Fred Van Dongen President’s Award: Gary Coleman