Grant Balkema was a longtime NGS board member, coach, referee and friend who died suddenly at his Boston College office in November, 2004. As an NGS coach, Grant led teams that ranged from a fun-loving, 3rd Grade intramural team to a remarkably over-achieving U16 team that competed passionately at the Massachusetts Tournament of Champions. As a referee, Grant was knowledgeable, relaxed, and in-demand as a Grade 7 referee who loved the teaching moments available to officials. We were all deeply saddened by his sudden loss. Years later, Newton’s fields and sidelines still feel empty without him.
Newton Girls Soccer has created an annual award to be presented every December to recognize a youth referee who exemplifies the personal qualities and professional standards that guided Grant Balkema as an accomplished referee. The Grant Balkema Memorial Award will be presented to a high school youth referee and will carry with it a college scholarship in an amount to be determined annually by the Award committee.
The winner of the Balkema Award will be a high school youth referee who has been active with Newton Girls Soccer games and who has achieved high standards of maturity, sensitivity, good humor, and sound judgment in managing play to promote the great game of soccer. The recipient will also have demonstrated keen knowledge of the Laws of the Game and highest respect for the traditions of the game that have so enhanced the lives of many young people in Newton.
We hope that many Newton families will join in making tax-deductible contributions to the Balkema Award fund to help NGS provide this annual memorial to Grant. Checks should be made to “NGS — The Balkema Award” and sent to:
Newton Girls Soccer, PO Box 610333, Newton, MA 02461.