Top citizen kicking goals

REWARDED: Naracoorte United Soccer Club president Jon Thurlow has been named as Citizen of the Year for Naracoorte.
REWARDED: Naracoorte United Soccer Club president Jon Thurlow has been named as Citizen of the Year for Naracoorte.

For more than 15 years, Jon Thurlow has dedicated his time to the Naracoorte United Soccer Club, as a player, committee member and president.

It was for this dedication that Mr Thurlow has been named as the Naracoorte Citizen of the Year for 2020.

He joined the club committee in 2007, and has never looked back, serving on the committee in other roles for many years before stepping up to the plate as president.

He is heading into his fifth year as club president, as well as coaching the under 12s and running the miniroos program.

Jon was instrumental in running the Limestone Coast Multicultural Soccer Carnival which attracted players of all nationalities from all around the region.

"I played it in school, and then I went off and did other sports, then I moved down here from Adelaide and thought I would get back involved in soccer," he said.

"I saw they needed a hand, and I have always played sports so I thought It was time to give back to sport and help in running the club."

Jon said a highlight was turning on the new light towers at the Naracoorte soccer grounds.

"It was really good to come out and switch them on for the first time and see how excited everyone was,"he said.

"When we started here, we only had the two old towers on the corners, which only gives us a third of the pitch to train on, and it wasn't very encouraging to come and play.

"So one thing we worked at for the last 15 years was getting lights up and then last year we got them good enough that we could play night games."

Another high;light for Jon was seeing the senior team make the finals for the first time since he joined the club.

"Last year our seniors played in their first final since I've been involved in the club. We lost in extra time in the last few minutes but it was super exciting just to see how emotional it was for some of the people that have been involved for a long time.

"It gives you faith that all the the work you are doing is working."

He loves to see the kids he coaches succeed in the sport and has helped children to achieve their goals by assisting with fundraising.

"It's great to see that some of the kids that you've coached and helped, that have gone off and played state or even done the state championships.

"We had one lad go to the national championships representing South Australia - we helped him fundraise some money and he also went to Singapore with the country team.

Jon will be presented with his award at an Australia Day ceremony next Tuesday, January 26, in Naracoorte.