By Chris Curulli
Despite being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease five years ago, Belrose-Terry Hills’ Carl Edwardes has been determined to not let the condition prevent him from coaching his son’s team.
Edwardes is preparing to kick off his third season of coaching at grassroots level, where this year he will oversee the BTH U14s side.
Carl is no stranger to football on the Northern Beaches, having spent over a decade of his junior years at Narrabeen, before moving to the Raiders who he represented in the AL/2 and AL/1 divisions.
In the wake of his diagnosis, Edwardes has taken up coaching as an enjoyable opportunity to remain involved in the sport.
“Five years ago, I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and I have probably had a bit of a steady decline in my health since then,” he recalls.
“Soccer a good distraction for me. Even though I sometimes find it hard to run around and those kind of things, it’s really good for my mental wellbeing.
“I probably don’t have all the technical coaching skills that perhaps other people do but I’m always quite keen to give it a go.
“I enjoy dealing with the kids and just being around the whole experience of Saturday soccer like I did when I was when I was growing up.”
Due to his work commitments and ongoing battle with illness, Carl unsure exactly what the future holds for his coaching endeavours.
“It’s getting harder and harder for me to physically do stuff these days,” he says.
“I’m looking to perhaps doing something different (for work) after serving for 20 years, so after that I’m just not sure what might happen.
“I’d like to stay involved in soccer but I’m not quite sure what I’ll be doing work-wise, and with my physical capacity to run around.”
Despite his circumstances, Carl treasures the support network that football has created, allowing for him to overcome his daily challenges.
“Everyone has been really supportive to me,” he explains.
“Sometimes I wonder whether I should let people know about Parkinson’s because when it gets really cold on a Saturday morning and my symptoms often are more pronounced. Yet other times I just feel like I should try and function as normal.
“So that’s been a bit of a challenge to know when to let people know, but everyone’s been extremely supportive and I’m really enjoying my time coaching.”
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