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From the age of 7 I fell in love with football. I was second born to an older sister, she was a mummys girl, and my dad really wanted a boy. He got me, so raised me the same way he was raised. I love all sports, but football was a passion! I got my first season ticket at 8 years old for my beloved Brighton. Now at the age of 40, I still have a season ticket, and I travel from Ascot for a home game, and still go with my Dad! I wouldn’t have it any other way! Luckily at 6/7 my son showed an interest in kicking a ball, and this the new seagull fan was born! His passion for football runs deep too, and he is now almost 13! When he was 7 years old, may 2015 I had a stillborn daughter. I wasn’t sure how to continue life, normality had changed. Yet football was still there for me. It was still as it was and when my son started playing I was so proud to be a footy mum cheering him on from the sideline! He got parents and managers man of the match in his first game played and it was my first outing watching grassroots football. U9 season came 6 months later and he was re streamed. This left a big space in goal for the previous team, and having seen kids crying in goal - I knew I had to do something. One of the coaches approached me, knew I had been training my son 1-1 at home for goalkeeping and asked if I would consider being an assistant coach to all 3 U9 teams. I took 2 players from each team each week and gave them basic tips to give them confidence to be in goal! At u10’s I was asked to step up to one sides full time assistant coach, and what a season we had. Only losing 3 games, the boys stormed it! Half way through the u10 season our manager had a change of job, so we switched roles and I took over the team. U11- more re-streaming and now 9 a side beckoned. New players and yet every player who came to try out for us wanted to join too! They didn’t want to leave and go up to our top team, they wanted to stay with me as their coach. They worked hard and were rewarded for our first season at u12 when we were put in the same league as our top team. The ones who had looked down on my team, for having a female coach, and for not being good enough! Even at that age, kids can be cruel! We worked hard, we played our football our way and we did our talking on the pitch! End of the season and whilst they beat us in the early part of the season, we got even the second half wiping the floor with them! Final table positions, we were one place ahead and we had a game in hand! The boys had done it, and done it in style! They always believed in me as I had in done in them!! Now at u13’s I have again lost players (including my goalkeeping son) to the top team. They were streamed 2 leagues above us, but as of January we are 1 league apart! The bees (not brentford) prove to me week in week out how committed they are. Out of 17, training is rarely less than 15 of them, they care about each other and are the most inclusive boys I’ve ever known! We have one boy with epilepsy, one with severe Asthma, one with a hearing aid and one who is Autistic, ADD and ADHD. But the boys never let these things get in the way. We find ways as a coach and a team to find the best in theses boys and they are flourishing week in week out! I have now coached on my own since September. The boys will be there to greet me at my car to help carry equipment, I don’t even need to ask them, they all offer. They see it as a privilege to collect the cones or bibs at the end of a session! I also spend time at the end of every game and every training session. Everyone loves a toe tap and a 2 minute talk about what went well, what I loved to see and what we can work on in training together! I love that it’s a two way conversation, their view matters, it’s insightful what they see that I don’t. I’ve also been nominated out of every age group to have an u14 helper who is doing is Duke of Edinburgh award. An extra pair of hands who I get to mentor also. I try to get to his games too when I can to see how he is getting on and to cheer him on! Even a few of my u13s have been there to support him also!
Reason for nomination:
Whenever I’m asked how many children I have, I am proud to say 1 son and 17 other boys who I get to enjoy training and matches with twice a week! During tournaments I was given my first autistic child, and after the tournament both his mum and dad thanked me for how I handled him. He plays in the team above so I hadn’t worked with him before. But I knew what he needed to excel and how important it is to communicate effectively! The best comment from our lead coach of the top team, came from his own son, telling him he loves me being his coach and he loves to play for me! Everyone deserves a chance to play the game I love! Regardless of any disabilities I work to find the best position for the boys so they can excel and still love the game! Be that through little training sessions or watching them in training games, or staying to watch the top team or our entry team. There is so much we can learn from other coaches and players as a whole, and I thoroughly encourage that together with supporting everyone! Our bee philosophy is to play our game, our way and TEAM means Together Everyone Achieves More!