Fri | Jul 3, 2020

Orville Taylor: The coach with a big heart

Published:Saturday | March 28, 2020 | 12:00 AMDanae Hyman/Gleaner Writer
Players look on as Coach Orville Taylor takes the team through a warm-up session.
Footballers go through agility drills to improve movement and speed.
Coach Orville Taylor has been training youth footballers in his community, free of charge, for the past 38 years.
Dribbling through cones is key in teaching players how to control the ball in close quarters.
After drills comes some fun one-on-one for the young players, who are divided into two groups and play against each other.
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Living in the Westchester community in Portmore, St Catherine, Orville Taylor has been the friendly neighbourhood coach for generations, giving free football training to the children on a weekly basis.

Out of his love for the sport and children, Taylor has been coaching every Saturday for the last 38 years, volunteering his time and knowledge to children in his community.

“I like to be around youths, and I love to do things to help the youths in the community that I live in. So this was a personal thing for me to just take some youngsters and coach them, trying to take them to another level,” Taylor shared with GoodHeart.

LOVE FOR FOOTBALL

The 56-year-old football coach said that he first found his love for football through his church. He disclosed that track and field was originally his favourite sport, with cricket coming in second, but ever since he started playing football, it has stolen his entire heart.

The game brought him so much joy that he decided to coach it for free, first to adults and then solely to children.“I really enjoy training from the grass-roots level because I used to coach big men before, but you face a lot of obstacles with discipline and how they relate to you. With the children, the obstacles I face are like the fact that they don’t listen at times or wear proper gear to training,” Taylor said.

He teaches them the basics of football: how to control and pass the ball accurately, the positions and measurement of the field and football theory, which they are asked to study.

Employed to a preparatory school for the last 12 years as a physical education teacher, Taylor stated that although he helps the children at his school on a daily basis, he still looks forward to the weekend to give back to those in his community.

According to him, within the short space of time that he has been coaching his new batch of upcoming football stars, they have improved tremendously.

He said that although the boys did not have a proper grasp of how to control or pass the ball, they have improved in that area along with how they attack the ball.

MOWING THE LAWN FOR FREE

Taylor’s work, however, does not stop at only training the community’s children. He also mows the lawn of the community’s football field free of cost.

Despite that fact that it comes with a personal charge to him – renting the lawnmower – he said that he loves seeing a clean and levelled field, so he does it out of the goodness of his heart.

But with all the great things he has been doing, Taylor said there have been challenges. His young charges need gear and equipment for more effective training.

“To get where I want to reach with these youngsters,d I need support. I need, like, balls, cones, saucers, and, if possible, two sets of training gear. I don’t get any help from the community. I just do this out of my dream and out of love,” he said.

GREAT IMPROVEMENT

Oneil Lewis, one of the many community men who has had to the opportunity to have been trained by Coach Taylor, says he is now fortunate enough to have his son also being trained by him.

Lewis said that although his eight-year-old son initially started football to lose weight, he has become extremely interested in the sport and is improving with each passing week.

Two other parents also shared similar sentiments about the great work that Coach Taylor has been doing for their sons.

One mother, Shanique Rowe, said that since her son enrolled to start training with Taylor on Saturday mornings, he has made great improvements. She said that he has become more active and interactive with his peers.

“The world revolves around love, and I appreciate what he is doing for the children, and he has a lot of patience dealing with the kids. I see where he has shown excessive love and pulled them together. I thank him for everything he has done,” Rowe said.

Another parent, Sashauna-Gaye Shepherd, said that she found out about Taylor’s programme while searching for an extra-curricular activity for her son as none was available at his school.

She said that although he could not initially manage the exercises, he has got a lot better.

“He was bad with his reflexes, but now he is improving and excited about football,” Shepherd said.

Charity began in the community for Taylor, but he does not want it to end there. He believes that with a little help, he can help children in the entire city of Portmore.

danae.hyman@gleanerjm.com.

To support or learn more about Coach Orville Taylor’s initiative, call 876-350-2875. Have a good story you’d like to share? Email us at goodheart@gleanerjm.com.