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“The power of sport” as a motivation for all

Celebrating Black History Month

28 October 2021

To celebrate Black History Month, our Foundation asked members of staff to share their inspirations and what motivated them to get involved in football.

This event, which runs throughout October, gives everyone the opportunity to share, celebrate and understand the impact of black heritage and culture. It's also an opportunity for people to learn more about the effects of racism and how to challenge negative stereotypes. For more information, visit the Black History Month website .

Kasha Petit (pictured coaching above) – AFCW Foundation

Who were your biggest role models growing up?

My biggest role models growing up were Rachel Yankee (when she played for Fulham) as she was an amazing footballer who played in a similar position to me and I could visually identify with her.

What got you interested/excited about sport?

My brother, as he was very into sport and always encouraged me when I was younger. I started off interested in athletics as my family and Jamaican heritage always followed the Olympics, but then I went into playing football and transferred my speed and agility across.

Why is sport so important to you?

It’s a great way to socialise, and I’ve met so many friends through the power of sport. It allows me to switch off from outside problems and, of course, keeps me fit and healthy.

What do you think is the biggest change that needs to happen in sport to make it more representative of the UK’s diverse community?

I think making more sports more accessible would level the playing field. I am a strong believer that there is a sport out there for everyone, but without the opportunity to try it we don’t get to reach or realise our potential.

What is your proudest sporting moment?

One of my proudest sporting moments is captaining and winning a cup with the Middlesex representative team, but I feel there are more proud sporting moments to come, not only as a player but as a coach too!

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Marcus - AFCW Foundation and EFP Programme Graduate

Who were your biggest role models growing up?

Biggest role models were probably the kids a year or two older than me at school, but after that it would be Lebron James.

What got you interested/excited about sport?

I am pretty competitive and also being good at sport made me popular in primary school.

Why is sport so important to you?

Without sport, I probably wouldn’t have the same drive I have for other aspects of my life, for example academic studies or just the qualities that carry over into everyday life. Playing sport also gave me something to look forward to in the week.

What do you think is the biggest change that needs to happen in sport to make it more representative of the UK’s diverse community?

The biggest change I feel that needs to be made to create greater diversity is to erase the financial costs of sports on a grassroots level for younger children. This takes out the advantage wealthier kids have over regular working class children because they would be starting at the same age. Another way would be for charities or groups to fund bursaries towards lower income individuals (any age) for high level skills in “expensive” sports, including golf and tennis.

What is your proudest sporting moment?

My proudest sporting moment is getting into the Surrey Under-13 cricket team. I had worked my hardest to get into that for months leading up to the trials and making the team changed how people viewed me.

Who were your biggest role models growing up?

John Barnes – a player who still maintained his professionalism and succeeded for club and country, despite all the racism towards him. He made me realise that as a black person through hard work you’re able to succeed, no matter the barriers placed upon you.

What got you interested/excited about sport?

World Cup Italia 90. My first real memory of sport, in particularly football!! In the next World Cup I recall the Brazilian team with their blue away kit, Bebeto running up and doing the baby celebration, The Baggio missed penalty!

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Abdoullah Kheir – AFCW Girls

Why is sport so important to you?

The feeling that it brings. It brings people, and communities from all walks of life together. It’s a universal language that’s bring smiles to people’s faces.

What do you think is the biggest change that needs to happen in sport to make it more representative of the UK’s diverse community?

To bring a safer environment to communities. When I was younger we played out on the streets and we were out all evening with friends, making up games and using our imaginations. Through playing out in communities with friends, there would be increased sports opportunities  in schools. Parents and families would be more engaged and feel safer.

What is your proudest sporting moment?

Running the London Marathon for the Mo Farah Foundation and raising money for diverse communities to engage more in sport. We provided outdoor adventure activities that many had not participated in before, enabling and providing equipment for families to play with at home.

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Michael Hamilton – AFCW Academy

Who were your biggest role models growing up?

Growing up I was a massive Arsenal fan, so any one associated with them at the time. My favourite players were Ian Wright and Paul Merson, then Ashley Cole and Thierry Henry later on. I’ve always been a huge boxing and hip hop fan, so Mike Tyson, Eminem, and Floyd Mayweather were amongst the sportsman I looked up to.

What got you interested/excited about sport?

I’ve always enjoyed sport from when I was young, not just football but all different sports. I can’t say there was one significant person or thing, but I can say looking back I wish I explored even more sports.

Why is sport so important to you?

Apart from being involved in sports as a job, as well as actively looking at different ‘physical challenges’, sport is very hugely important for mental and emotional health / development. Sport is powerful for developing skills that are required in life, including communication, winning together, losing and dealing with defeat, developing persistence, dedication, teamwork, and learning to control emotions.

What do you think is the biggest change that needs to happen in sport to make it more representative of the UK’s diverse community?

Change doesn’t need to happen in sport, change needs to happen in society, we ‘tag’ sport with being a certain way, but all sport does is represent the behaviours of sport. To me the biggest way to influence change is to educate. Not to tell people what they should do and how, but more importantly getting them to understand the why.

What is your proudest sporting moment?

Very hard question as different moments have a different impact, but the ones that stand out include: U18s winning the EFL Youth Alliance Cup, and watching the U18s go toe to toe for 90 mins with Tottenham Hotspur in FA Youth Cup last season. Watching individuals reach the pinnacle of their careers so far (after knowing and being part of the journey) are proud moments.

Jerrell Pascall – AFCW Foundation and EFP Programme

Who were your biggest role models growing up?

My role models were people who were leaders or overcane diversity to reach their goals or have success.

What got you interested/excited about sport?

Being able to compete, challenge and learn new skills or abilities.

Why is sport so important to you?

It’s important because it helps keeps me mentally in a good place, and it helps in improving my own personal fitness. As a Personal Trainer I also enjoy witnessing and sharing positive progress in someone else's success.

What do you think is the biggest change that needs to happen in sport to make it more representative of the UK’s diverse community?

The biggest challenge in sport for diverse communities is that there isn’t a clear accessible platform for each community. A lot of communities have more sporting programmes than others, which might be easier to access for certain boroughs, or they are not advertised well enough in others. Likewise, we don’t praise enough the hard work which certain areas or communities do, which would allow it to grow.

What is your proudest sporting moment?

My proudest moment in coaching was working for Tottenham Hotspur’s Under-23 women’s team when we won the FA WNL Reserves South/South East Division, without being beaten. At the same time, Tottenham Hotspur’s women’s first team finished runners-up in the league to Man Utd Women, earning promotion to the Women’s Super League.

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Sian -  AFCW Foundation Dons Intern

Who were your biggest role models growing up?

One of my biggest role models when I was younger was Serena Williams. This was mostly because I found all of her achievements absolutely unbelievable, and I was so inspired by her at such a young age. I also found it very inspiring to see a black successful woman, so hopefully I will be able to achieve success of my own.

What got you interested/excited about sport?

My interest in sports mostly began in year four when the PE teacher at my primary school said I had a lot of potential and that I was a very fast runner. Then I was encouraged to join the football team as they said my speed would be useful.

Why is sport so important to you?

If I’m being completely honest I am not sure 100 per cent sure why sport is so important to me. One of the reasons I could think of is that since primary school I was told of my potential. It really pushed me to see how well I could do within sports and I enjoyed trying out new things. Another reason would be is because I always enjoyed the competition in each sport and especially the team sports because of how supportive everyone was of one another.

What is your proudest AFC Wimbledon sporting moment?

My proudest moment with AFC Wimbledon was winning “Player of the Term” and Player of the Day”. It really boosted my confidence and my self esteem. Another one of my proudest moments is volunteering over the summer as I found it good to work with young kids. It was fun to go back to the primary school environment and learn how each kid is different and how to deal with each situation.  I hope to do that much more in the future.


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