Father Adam Crouch says he is one of the luckiest people around, being able to live out his two passions – faith and football.
An assistant priest at the vibrant Penshurst parish he is also an assistant coach at the QBE Sydney Swans Academy.
A handy midfielder in his day for his native Port Adelaide Football Club, Fr Adam said having a connection through footy gives him a real advantage when dealing with not only young skills but young souls.
“They say if you love what you do you never work a day in your life and that certainly applies to me,” he said.
“Being a priest is my number one priority … but I must admit footy does come a very close second.
“Being able to connect with young people on the footy field opens the door to conversations about faith.
“And quite often it’s not me who instigates it, young people are curious and I think they feel they can talk to me about anything, which helps with my ministry enormously.”
Many of the up-and-coming young players Fr Adam coaches are from Sydney Catholic schools and one he has struck a special bond with is Matt Kannan.
The Year 12 student from the St Mary’s Cathedral College is not only in the training squad, but also his parish.
He said having Fr Adam as a coach and a priest is “pretty cool” and values their relationship highly.
“He is so inspiring and helps me a lot whether it’s with footy or my faith,” he said.
“He a great priest but also a pretty handy footy player, I’ve been out kicking a ball with him and he certainly tests me.
“Penshurst is very lucky to have him and so are the young kids at the Swans. I know he makes the fellas think about their behaviour when he’s around and hopefully more importantly when he’s not.”
Fr Adam’s brother Jared, a former Swans premiership player with more than 200 games under his belt and considered footy royalty, said his brother not only brings a wealth of footy knowledge but also strong values which the club is trying to instil.
He said the academy is undergoing a culture change and his brother is the perfect person to help make that happen.
“There’s been a shift here at the club and it’s more to do with the Christian values we are instilling in the players than anything else so having Adam here is a real bonus,” he said.
“The boys are responding to it very well, it’s something we feel strongly about and are reaping the benefits of.
“Changing the culture at a club doesn’t happen overnight but we are committed to it, it’s a way of getting the best out of each other.”
Story and picture originally published in The Catholic Weekly.Jump to next article