Former Kelowna football coach, Johannes van Leenen, has earned recognition for significantly improving players’ lives on and off the field. He has transformed the lives of many youths over his 30 years of service. Many of these individuals assert that Johannes greatly impacted their personal and professional success.
Brayden Laurie, a former student, goes into depth about his former coach and how he impacted his life positively.
What were some of the challenges you faced in your life before football?
“I met Johannes van Leenen when I was very young. Only 15 years old. Before meeting Johannes, I didn’t have a plan for my life. I didn’t think I would attend university. My only focus was getting through high school, and I didn’t know what was next for me after that.
Seeing Johannes’ passion for excellence and hunger for success on and off the field made me admire him as a person. From him, I learned that I could do more with my life. His resilience and hard work taught me that you could do whatever you want if you’re willing to dedicate the time and never give up. He’s been an inspiration and a huge reason for my success as a player.”
What made you choose Johannes as your coach?
“Many people had told me about what a great coach he was. He had a reputation for caring for the young men he mentored while pushing them to succeed. I valued that in a coach and felt that Johannes could help me achieve my goals. Reflecting on where I started to where I am now, I know I made the right choice in trusting him.
What are some of the lessons you learned through Johannes’ mentorship?
“The biggest lesson I learned from Johannes was never to give up and to persevere when striving to achieve my goals. Success doesn’t come easy, but it’ll never happen if you give up. There are always ways to push through and overcome obstacles. Even if you fail the first time, try again.
Johannes consistently demonstrated this, and seeing him go through life and push himself was motivating. He always wants more for himself and the people around him. It will only come to you if you take action. Johannes has been a great example of this.”
What do you believe would be different had you not found Johannes?
“I wouldn’t have been on the path I am now. I wouldn’t have attended university with a Football scholarship if I hadn’t met him. I have now finished my university degree and am seeking a career in finance. He showed me what it takes to be successful through his example.”
How will you continue Johannes’ legacy?
“To continue Johannes’ legacy, I want to mentor and coach the younger generations that come after me on and off the field, as Johannes did for me. I want to set an example and help put young men on the right path. Johannes would want me to show young men and women the importance of having a strong work ethic, setting goals and sticking to them, and never giving up even when the odds aren’t in your favour. He’s been such an important person in my life, and he would want me to do my best to do the same for others.”
Johannes’ strong mentorship has made a positive impact on Brayden’s life. His expert coaching skills have changed many lives, showing that good coaches can provide lifelong benefits to their students. The coaching methods used by Johannes van Leenen demonstrate that you may continually improve or modify who you are to become the best version of yourself.