Family tradition is important to Ed Alley. It is the reason why he has volunteered at Yass Football Club for the past two decades. It is the same reason why, in the early hours of Saturday morning, he grabbed his cornet and headed to Yass Soldiers Memorial Hall.
Even though there was no official Anzac Day service due to COVID-19, the restrictions were not going to stopping Ed from carrying on his 24-year-long tradition of playing the Last Post.
“My grandfather, who was the Director of Music for the Australian Army, first got me involved in music and taught me to play the cornet,” Ed said. “One year, I was attending the Anzac Service and they played a taped recording of the Last Post.
“I thought I could do a better job than that, so the following year they asked me to play at the service. I think I was 12 or 13 when I first started playing at the Service and I have been doing it ever since.”
Posted by Yass Football Club on Friday, April 24, 2020
Music, military and Yass FC have been part of the Alley family for generations and it is important for Ed to carry on these family traditions.
“My family has been involved with Yass FC almost since it started,” Ed said. “My dad is the former treasurer and family has always been very community-minded. My brothers and I are volunteer firefighters, and it is how we have been raised.
“Once we get into something, we do it wholeheartedly.”‘
It was with that mentality that Ed threw himself into coaching at the club, even though he had only played indoor soccer socially.
“I only took the coaching job on because there weren’t many coaches available and no one was willing to coach the team,” he said. “So they rang me up and I agreed. I just wanted to help the kids and make sure they are having a fun time.”
Having limited football knowledge, Ed hit the books and began learning some basic football drills.
“I started to do some research and Google really helped,” Ed said with a chuckle. “I read a few coaching books to learn some strategy. I am still learning now, so I keep one step ahead of the kids.”
Now his whole family has thrown their time and energy into the club, with his wife helping in the canteen while Ed is now the club registrar and coach of the U13s side.
“When I first started, a lot of kids hadn’t played before so they didn’t have a lot of skill but now they are really good players,” Ed said. “It is really rewarding to watch them grow and develop their skills.
“That’s what I enjoy most.”
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