Nick Cowburn may have only recently signed his first professional contract with Newcastle in the Hyundai A-League, but there is no doubting that he is already the favourite Jets player when it comes to fans at his beloved boyhood club Toronto Awaba.
On a visit back to his old stomping ground of Finnan Oval in Blackalls Park on Friday ahead of this weekend’s ‘Play Football’ round in the Hyundai A-League, the versatile 20-year-old was inundated with questions from local kids from the club and community – all of whom are well aware that “Mr Cowburn” progressed through their very own junior ranks before making it as a pro.
“As you can tell here today they [the junior players] have a lot of questions, which is good,” Cowburn – who has even worked with many of the kids from the club as a Teacher’s Aide at Blackalls Park Public School in the past – told www.newcastlejets.com.au.
“I tell them that first of all they have to have fun with their football, and one of the main reasons that they are here at Toronto Awaba is to develop and have fun.”
“It is a great club, they have some great coaches and a close community, so with the people behind this club the kids here have a great future,” he said.
Walking around Finnan Oval after passing out some tickets to the club’s round 18 encounter against Melbourne City on Sunday afternoon brought back some vivid and positive memories for Cowburn.
Indeed, the Newcastle Jets Youth product’s family have a long and close association with Toronto Awaba Junior Football Club, so it was a given that Nick would follow the likes of father Brett and brother Jason in donning the yellow and blue during his junior days.
“I have got a lot of good memories here,” Cowburn said. “I started here in under fives – I think I was four years old when I started and I always played in the age group above.”
“I played here until under 12s with schoolmates, and it was a time that I really enjoyed.”
“I have a big family that loves to play football and they all came through here at Toronto Awaba. My brothers, cousins, father, they all played for Toronto Awaba so it was a no-brainer that ultimately I would join, too.”
“If I had my time again I would play for the same club [and] if I am still in the region if I have kids then there is only one club that my kids will go through,” he said.
While Cowburn has finished his work as a Teacher’s Aide at Blackalls Park to focus on his form and future with Newcastle Jets in the Hyundai A-League, he knows that playing football is a great way to integrate in the local community, get active, and make mates.
“We all want little kids to play football,” he said. “At recess and lunchtime when I was teaching at the school they [the kids] always used to say ‘Hey, Mr Cowburn! Can you come and play football with us’, which is great.”
“We all know everyone here in Blackalls Park because of Toronto Awaba Junior Football Club, so it shows that football is a great way to be involved in the community,” he concluded.
PLAY FOOTBALL IN AUSTRALIA IN 2016!
- This weekend is Hyundai A-League Play Football Round. The 2016 grassroots season has just started, and there are so many reasons to get involved in playing football. Join the game today as a player, coach, or referee by registering at myfootballclub.com.au
- AIA Vitality MiniRoos is the fun introduction to football for girls and boys aged 4-11. To find a place to play go to miniroos.com.au
- With over 1.18 million Australians playing football in 2015, now is the time to be involved in the world’s favourite sport
- AIA MiniRoos provides opportunities for girls to play football with their friends in girl-only teams and programs. Find out more at miniroos.com.au
Newcastle Jets vs. Melbourne City – Hyundai A-League 2015/16 Round 18
When: Sunday 7 February 2016
Where: Hunter Stadium, Newcastle
Kick-off: 5:00pm (AEDT)
Tickets: Please click here to purchase match tickets
Social Media: Join the match conversation using #NEWvMCY