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Eric Young always looked up to his father, Herbert, as his No. 1 inspiration.
From a young age, the Corner Brook man recognized qualities in his father he wanted to replicate.
“I thought my father was the man,” Eric, 74, told The Western Star. “When I was young, I remember saying, ‘I want to be just like dad.’”
He traced his father’s footsteps, most especially when it came to sports.
It started with him chasing his father to the soccer field. He learned watching and, as he got older, eventually playing side-by-side with his father.
“That’s where I got all my skills from,” said Eric.
“When I was young, I remember saying, ‘I want to be just like dad.’” - Eric Young
Herbert’s passion was soccer.
Eric couldn’t recall a time when there wasn’t a soccer ball in their home.
Back then, they used a ball with a leather casing. In wet weather, it got heavy and a lot harder to kick around.
“When that got heavy, oh, my god,” said Eric. “The leather would get soaked, it was terrible.”
Sometimes your foot would just bring up solid against the ball.
But Herbert didn't mind. Soccer was just a part of his life.
He would play the sport well into his 60s before family members, Eric included, convinced him to give it up. They felt the sport had gotten too rough.
But Eric is a lot like his father.
While he played soccer, broomball is the sport Eric has stuck with all through the years and is already a member of that sport's provincial Hall of Fame.
Having played broomball for nearly 60 years — most of those at the all-star level, he continues to play in the Corner Brook Molson Men's Broomball League into his mid-70s, exemplifying the same lifelong love of sport his dad had.
“I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,” he said.
Hall of Fame
Herbert’s dedication to his sport is now getting special recognition.
On April 3, he will be inducted into the Newfoundland and Labrador Soccer Association Hall of Fame.
Herbert passed away in 2012 at the age of 91 but Eric will be travelling to St. John’s to attend the ceremony.
He expects it to be a very emotional moment. One person he’ll be thinking of is his mother. She turns 100 in February and won’t be able to attend.
“I know she’s very thankful that dad is going to be inducted into the soccer hall of fame,” he said.
“Whatever I’ve done, he’s shown me the way.”
According to Eric, his father never expected accolades and getting inducted into the hall of fame would not have been on his mind. He played simply for the love of the sport.
Eric described his father as a quiet and mild-mannered man. However, he loved to mentor younger athletes and when he spoke, he had their ears. He earned their respect. They listened.
“He helped many, many young guys here with soccer,” he said. “I’ve talked to a few guys and they’ve said they learned an awful lot from dad.”
But Eric remains his No. 1 student.
“Whatever I’ve done,” he said, “he’s shown me the way.”
Eric thanked Doug Sweetapple and Lenny Aucoin for their help getting together documents and information to submit Herbert’s nomination.
Herbert Young’s accomplishments in soccer
In his 50-year career, Herbert Young displayed qualities as an elite soccer player and took on a leadership role in forming a new four-team Corner Brook league in 1963.
Young also played a major role in forming one of the new teams, the West Side Monarchs, which he also went on to coach for a number of years.
In his 16 years as a player competing in the provincial championships, he demonstrated he possessed the skill sets to compete against the top teams from St. John’s and the Burin Peninsula.
From his central defender’s position, he was a major factor in leading his Corner Brook team to the provincial championship in 1952 and 1956.
During his time in the Corner Brook league, he was named a Top defender and an MVP.
In addition, he was a perennial All-Star to play against visiting war ships from the British and Canadian navies.
2020 Newfoundland and Labrador Soccer Association Inductees
- Noel Doyle (St. Lawrence)
- Shane Dunphy (Marystown)
- Leonard “Brud” Edwards (Lawn)
- Gordon Grandy (Grand Bank)
- Jonathan Kelly (Mount Pearl)
- Rudy Norman (St. Lawrence)
- Herbert Young (Corner Brook)
Source: Newfoundland and Labrador Soccer Association