Leslie Mui, 49, a real estate salesperson, is a doting father to his two children, Hannah, 13, and Harold, 11.
His real estate job gives him the flexibility to partake in volunteer work and that is the reason why he has been a parent volunteer at his daughter’s school since she was in Primary One. Over the past six years, he has helped to organise many events such as the Total Defence Day, Breakfast With Dads and many other events.
Leslie Mui with his wife and son, Harold. Photo: Leslie Mui
Asked how he became a volunteer parent football coach at his son’s school, Leslie recalled: “Seeing that I was very involved in volunteering at his sister’s school, Harold asked me one day when he was in Primary Three why I have not volunteered at his school. I felt bad at that time and coincidentally he was selected to train for the school team (Junior Division). I went with Harold for a trial / kick-about session and joined in to play with the boys. After the session, one of the dads explained to me that the school did not have the resources to engage a coach to train the school team and asked if I was interested to help coach the team. I agreed immediately and that was how I got involved.”
As football is not a CCA option in Harold’s school, resources are very limited. However, Leslie and his fellow parents are extremely supportive and committed. There have been numerous occasions where the parents banded together to raise funds to purchase goal posts and other training equipment.
Leslie is also a volunteer parent football coach at his son’s school. Photo: Leslie Mui
It was also a challenge for Leslie as he had good players who were involved in other mainstream CCAs. Trying to de-conflict training sessions so that the boys can be involved in football training often posed major challenges for him as a coach.
When asked about the achievements of the football team, Leslie beamed: “The junior team (Primary four and five) came in third in the South Zone and qualified for the national round in 2019. The team then had to overcome many strong opponents along the way before eventually finishing third in the National round.”
Leslie’s son, Harold, is also a participant in the ActiveSG Football Academy. According to Leslie, if football is a journey for Harold, then ActiveSG Football Academy would be the beautiful beginning.
He shared that Harold had loved football since he was six years old but that he did not enroll him in any football academies as he wasn’t sure if it was too early for him to start. Then when Harold was eight, his wife’s cousin, Glenn Tay, whose two sons were already very active in ActiveSG Football Academy, recommended that he try enrolling Harold in the same academy.
Harold in action for ActiveSG Football Academy. Photo: Leslie Mui
So what started as just a hobby or something to expend his son’s excess energy has flourished into an important part of his life. Thanks to coaches like Richard Bok, Robin Chitrakar, Winston Yap and many others, Harold has improved a great deal. He was also given many opportunities to take part in competitions, including two trips to Kanga Cup held in Canberra, Australia.
When asked if he had any advice for parents who are considering sending their kids to sport academies, Leslie said: “Not really advice but more of speaking from experience. I can’t speak for the other sports academies under ActiveSG but the Football Academy is definitely a very good place to expose and develop our young athletes to the sport. In fact, I have on several occasions been asked to consider placing Harold at private football schools and I have always declined because of the convenient training grounds and high calibre coaches at ActiveSG Football Academy.”
Leslie and Harold. Photo: Leslie Mui
He added: “I still have very fond images of Coach Richard and Coach Robin taking care of the boys in Australia, even helping them to gel and comb their hair in the mornings, as well as Academy Principal Aleksandar Duric helping the boys to tie their boots laces during training.”
Leslie, who used to be very active in his younger days, now plays football once a week, although he tries to include a one km swim or a 15 km cycling session in between.
He ended with this last piece of advice for parents who wish to exercise or play sports with their young ones: “Know your body and know your limits. At some point our children will become physically stronger than us and we have to realise that we can’t and don’t have to always keep up with them.”
Gary Yang is a myActiveSG Editor and Presenter. Gary started his career as a suit cum copywriter at an advertising agency, followed by a successful stint in Corporate Communications with Singapore Press Holdings and Asia Pacific Breweries, before eventually joining the editorial team at Sport Singapore. He now turns his attention to fitness and wellness headlines and sniffing out news angles in the sporting arena. Follow Gary on Instagram @thisisgaryyang
Led by former Singapore international Aleksandar Duric, the ActiveSG Football Academy offers a holistic football programme which is designed to build character and encourage children and youth to pursue their sporting passion with the right attitude. Find out more here.
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