I have always enjoyed playing football, so at 14 when I was invited to play for my local club I was excited and nervous at the same time. As soon as I got there, I thought, “This is what I want to do.”
I never really had any ambitions, or idea of what I wanted to do for a career, therefore I never had anything to work towards. As a result I never really worked hard in school. But when I started playing football at the club everything changed.
In the next few months I remember being happier than I ever been. I think my teachers would agree when I say that my effort in school and my work improved. I suddenly found myself in a situation where I knew what I wanted to do; play football. Because of that I became more focused in every aspect of my life.
In my three seasons I have won a league and cup double, played at a centre of excellence, and in the FA Cup. I was also offered the chance to take my first FA coaching badge – which I have done. I wanted the chance to give other young people the chance to play football, and give them the opportunities that I have been lucky enough to have been given.
Football has given me confidence in myself and my ability. It has shown me different career paths that I never even considered before. It has given me the drive to succeed in life. I have eight A-C GCSEs and I am currently studying two AS levels in college. I honestly believe that without football I would not have achieved these grades or be in further education. It is for these reasons I owe so much to my coaches.
The coaches I have been lucky enough to play under are some of the best in the country. They have been supportive and pushed us to be the very best we can achieve in every aspect of our lives not just our football.
As a coach myself now I feel that the best way to get the best out of young people today is to talk and treat them with respect and as individuals and equals. This, in turn, will earn their respect.