It was with a flip of a coin that Trevor Paine started a minor soccer program in Happy Valley-Goose Bay.
Paine was enjoying an evening out at the Royal Air Force Bulldog Club in the early 1980s.
“We’d had some fun and games, and I said, ‘You know what? I’m gonna flick a coin and if it lands on heads, I’m gonna start a soccer program. If it lands on tails, I’m gonna start a rugby program.’ I flipped a coin, it landed on heads and the rest was history,” Paine told The Labradorian with a chuckle on Tuesday, Feb. 5.
He didn’t realize it then but that fateful flip nearly four decades ago would play a big part in his eventual recognition as an honourary life member of the Newfoundland and Labrador Soccer Association (NLSA).
The NLSA announced the award in a news release on Friday, Feb. 1. An official ceremony will be held this spring.
He called it “quite an honour.”
Paine joins just nine others – Angus Barrett, Jeff Babstock, Gus Etchegary, Alan Ross, Brian Murphy, George Ennis, Newman Bartlett, Ed Moyst and Clayton Welsh – who have received the recognition.
“It’s great,” Paine said of the award. “Thirty-six years of working with minor soccer and with the provincial soccer association up here has been amazing, and it’s really pretty special to be recognized with something like that.”
Paine, who was inducted into the NLSA’s Hall of Fame in 2007, is originally from England. According to the biographical information in the NLSA release, he had hoped to play professional soccer. Multiple knee surgeries when he was in his early teens dashed that dream, however.
Paine was stationed at Goose Bay with the Royal Air Force (RAF). Upon leaving the RAF in 1981, he made Labrador his home.
In 1983, he founded the Happy Valley-Goose Bay Minor Soccer Association, serving as president for most of its 35-year existence. The association has grown from just over a hundred participants in the early years to more than 600 players today.
The spearhead behind the annual Labrador Cup, Paine has also organized Team Labrador’s entries in the Newfoundland and Labrador Winter and Summer Games for the last 30 years.
Among his provincial soccer roles over the years, he has served as the NLSA’s Labrador East representative since 1984.
The award comes as Paine is preparing to leave Labrador in July. He is retiring and moving to Ottawa. All three of his children are now living in Ontario.
“It’s going to be hard to leave home, you know, after 38 years here, but as they say, you got to move where your kids are and enjoy them for the remainder of your time,” he said.
NLSA president Doug Redmond paid tribute to Paine in the release, saying he has been a valuable asset to soccer’s development and growth in the province.
“Trevor is a true professional who has dedicated countless hours to the betterment of soccer in Newfoundland and Labrador, and in particular to Happy Valley-Goose Bay,” he said.