Sport can open doors – just ask the winner of this year’s Wally Foreman Coach of the Year, Juan Propato.
“In my case, you can travel around the world, doing what you love,” he said.
Since attending the River Plate Football Youth Academy, where he trained under some of Argentina’s top national coaches, Propato has been travelling the world sharing his love for the game.
His coaching career has taken him from Buenos Aires to his current base in Busselton, where he is Football West’s community participation officer for Leeuwin Naturaliste.
He has also coached in Cuba, New Zealand, Germany, and Belgium.
In addition to growing the sport in the Leeuwin Naturaliste region, he is also currently a volunteer coach for the South West Phoenix Football Club.
“I love so much the game that I want to give it back. Also give back to the South West, to Bunbury and our region,” he said.
Propato enjoys seeing the confidence develop in players as they improve and their team has a good season.
“That happiness of them to develop into a better person or a better player, that brings so much happiness,” he said.
The 44-year-old was recently recognised for his efforts at the South West Academy of Sport’s annual awards night, where he was announced the winner of this year’s Wally Foreman Coach of the Year Award.
Each year, the award recognises a coach in the South West community for their commitment and achievements to sport.
“It is special because I was not expecting it. To be nominated was special already but to win it – it is the first time football has won it,” he said.