Local teacher named Soccer NS's Regional Volunteer of the Year

By Lois Ann Dort    

GUYSBOROUGH – “It's a great recognition for all the work that those in the club are doing,” Brandon Dort told The Journal on Sunday upon his being named regional volunteer of the year by Soccer Nova Scotia. He said that although he was the individual receiving the recognition, it was a reflection of the work that all those in the recently formed Guysborough County United Minor Soccer Club — volunteer Board members and coaches — have done in the past year.

On Saturday, November 24 Dort attended Soccer Nova Scotia's Night of Excellence ceremony and officially received the accolade for his volunteer efforts with Guysborough County United. Dort said it was great to know that all the work that goes on behind the scenes gets noticed. “It felt great. Anyone who volunteers, you put a lot of time in and you're not doing it for a pat on the back, but whenever you are acknowledged and recognized for the work that you do, it's gratifying.”

Dort, a teacher at Fanning Education Centre / Canso Academy and a native of Dorts Cove, Guysborough County has had a long affinity for the game which stretches back to his elementary school days at Chedabucto Elementary in Guysborough. “I started playing competitively in Grade 5. Jim Muise (former teacher) always ran an after school program in the spring.”

From there Dort took part in STFX soccer camps that came to the Guysborough area and that's where he caught the eye of a coach who encouraged Dort to look at the sport more seriously. He went on to play in high school and in university where he was captain of the STFX University men's soccer team while he pursued his degree in Education. “A lot of those connections helped me and that is another reason I wanted to give back,” said Dort.

Natural ability and a love of the game fuelled Dort's success in soccer but there were obstacles to overcome, one being his Type I diabetes diagnosis. When asked about his health situation Dort said, “I think that playing competitive sports helped me with my diabetes. It taught me at a young age how to manage diabetes. I knew I had to eat properly and I had to test my sugar in order for me to perform at the level I wanted to perform at. I think anyone who has Type 1 diabetes, physical activity is the way to go. It makes your life easier and it teaches you management skills and how to stay on top of things.

“With anything in life you can chose to look at it as a negative or a positive. I always looked at diabetes as a positive thing cause it definitely helped shape who I am now; it helped with my organization, knowing that I could overcome things...Instead of being a hurdle it was a driving force, keeping me motivated,” he said.

With a successful first season under their belt, Dort is looking forward to what the spring will bring for the Guysborough County United club. He's excited about the possibilities open to youth in the Guysborough area with the great facilities now available at the Chedabucto Lifestyle Centre which includes a top of the line soccer field.

Anyone interested in the Guysborough County United Minor Soccer Club can find them on Facebook.