Darren felt judged
On attending the West Ham United Street Soccer Academy Darren opened up to us at the very beginning that he felt judged due to his past and current situation. That people would make their mind up about him without knowing him. The first time he met with one of our Coaches he had asked whether they knew anything about him. Our Coach responded with ‘of course’ – and Darren had been surprised that no judgement followed. He was instantly welcomed to the group.
A shining light
The belief, care and support we show in our young people meant that Darren quickly became a shining light within the Academy group. His confidence grew immensely and as an Amateur boxer, we encouraged him to use his skills to actually take warm-ups with the team at the start of each football coaching session. He rose to the challenge, and gained great respect from his team mates.
Darren went on to successfully complete the Academy programme and accepted the offered opportunity to talk about his personal experience at The Street Soccer Cup at the Home of England Football, St George’s Park in front of hundreds of others. Something he had never done before – and he was brilliant.
Darren has now secured a role at his local boxing club and continues to support the Foundation as a Young Ambassador.