Alfie, 24, is from Islington and has come through various Arsenal in the Community projects to become a coach for Premier League Kicks. His journey has included many memorable moments – including the opportunity to work with Ian Wright – and set him on a career path he feels truly passionate about.
“I started out by joining the Arsenal student BTEC programme, and after I left school I studied for two years before progressing to the Gap Year programme. I’m now a casual staff member coaching on a variety of community projects including Arsenal’s Premier League Kicks programme.
“Football has played a huge part of my life, whether I was playing or watching it, and Arsenal has played such a big part of that, just from being a fan and watching games with my dad, uncle and grandad, so it felt right to be involved with the club. I’ve been a participant in Arsenal’s community projects since primary school.
“I have had several ‘first days’ at Arsenal, all seemingly daunting at first, but the people in and among the Arsenal in the Community team really made me feel welcome and that I was part of something special.
“Two events during my time with Arsenal really stand out. The first was being part of the adidas No More Red campaign with Ian Wright and local artist Stazzy, where we designed a mural for the Rosemary Gardens pitch and I was presented with a white shirt in recognition of my part in it. The second real highlight was taking participants to the National Kicks Cup and watching our team win the London regional tournament.
“I’ve met most of my closest friends through my time studying and working at Arsenal, and I owe a lot of my progress as a professional and a person to three people from Arsenal. My Arsenal tutors Martin and Tony allowed me to really see myself as someone who can make a difference through my coaching, giving me a platform to build my confidence throughout. Then there’s Anthony, who I’ve worked for on the Kicks programme and who trusted me with responsibility and allowed me to grow through my work. All three have given me so many great opportunities.
“As a person I’ve gained skills in patience, listening and communication through studying and working at the club, all of which have been a massive help in my career progression – I’m two years into my teaching degree in primary education with a view to specialise in behaviour management in schools.
“The biggest surprise I got while working on the Kicks programme was how much we can learn from each other, no matter who you are or what you do. The conversations I have in and around sessions with participants, parents or members of the community are always enriching and I rarely have dull days with the people I interact with.
“Being part of Arsenal means being part of something that links us all under one big umbrella of pride for our community. Arsenal’s connection has given me the feeling that every time I leave my house I’m even more proud to be part of a community that’s investing time into our next generation.”
For more information on Kicks email Jack Ironside at firstname.lastname@example.org
Read more about the project at Rosemary Gardens here
Read about how the Kicks programme got started at Arsenal here
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