Having spent greater than 50 years of his life taking part in, teaching and officiating the sport he loves, Robertus “Rob” Mooijekind stated there aren’t many issues that may shock him at a soccer match today.
Nonetheless, he was joyful to be proved incorrect at a Sept. 8 match at Mount Ethereal’s Wallace Shelton Stadium. Previous to kickoff of a match between Mount Ethereal and North Surry Excessive Faculties, Mooijekind was honored with the Dick Knox Distinguished Service Award.
The award, offered to Mooijekind by the North Carolina Athletic Officers Affiliation and Blue Ridge Soccer Officers Affiliation, is a recognition of a person’s devoted service to and involvement with younger student-athletes in North Carolina. Mooijekind was given a plaque with the next engraved message:
“Your years of service and dedication are acknowledged and deeply appreciated. The lives you will have touched throughout your profession are a tribute to the optimistic affect of highschool athletics.”
The Blue Ridge Soccer Officers Affiliation is the geographically the biggest soccer affiliation within the state. The affiliation’s protection space runs between the state’s borders with Virginia and South Carolina and covers a lot of the western a part of N.C. The award is often offered on the affiliation’s annual assembly throughout the summer time; nonetheless, this yr’s assembly was cancelled attributable to COVID-19.
Mooijekind known as the shock a “humbling expertise” and that he was grateful “to be a part of this nice recreation known as soccer.”
His expertise within the stunning recreation goes again a lot additional than 1999, which is when he started officiating highschool sports activities. Mooijekind started taking part in soccer in 1968 within the Netherlands. He competed within the membership Delftse Sport Vereniging Concordia (DSV Concordia) till he moved to North Carolina in 1982.
Mooijekind and Mike Howard have been founding members of Surry County’s first grownup journey soccer group: Mount Ethereal Soccer Membership. The native membership gained each the common season and event titles throughout the first yr of the Appalachian Soccer League. Mooijekind later competed within the Holland America Group in Atlanta, Ga.
Mooijekind contributed to the early success of the Mount Ethereal Youth Soccer Affiliation when he returned to N.C in 1992. He, Howard and Mara Fiordilino held soccer clinics across the county, and he additionally helped discovered packages at each Mount Ethereal Center and North Surry Excessive College. Mooijekind’s affect was felt all through the county as he labored to unfold the game by serving to to prepare leisure leagues and journey soccer groups in addition to teaching.
When Mooijekind started officiating soccer, he needed to behave as a coach on the sphere to assist the following technology. Lots of the gamers competing within the match on Sept. 8 had Mooijekind as an official all through youth, center college and highschool soccer. The gamers are what retains him coming again every year.
In a 2020 interview with the Information, Mooijekind stated: “This recreation is for the youngsters – it’s not for me, it’s not for the followers, it’s not for the coaches or the college. Whether or not they’re pee-wees or they’re highschool seniors, that’s who I do it for. I’ve no ulterior motive. I don’t do it for the cash, as a result of by the point you pay for fuel, charges, soccer shirts and all that stuff there’s actually not a complete lot left, if any.”
Mooijekind doesn’t have any plans to retire from the game any time quickly, however when he does, he hopes to have the ability to sit again and benefit from the video games as a fan and be grateful he was part of the game for thus lengthy.