“It was hard at first but I kept going to make sure I was improving.” Despite being a novice to football prior to joining Street Soccer in 2015, Reece is now thriving as a volunteer in Aberdeen.
Having struggled with confidence, Reece highlights that the tight-knit group in the north east have helped support him through tough times to become a livelier character at weekly Street Soccer sessions.
“Since starting to play with Street Soccer, I feel like I have improved my confidence and communication. Football has been really important to this. It’s great to be part of a team.”
Reece is one of many players who benefit from two sessions a week in Aberdeen, where participants are able to blend personal development opportunities with fun on the pitch.
“I enjoy the structure of the sessions every week, where we have the chance to come upstairs and chat to partners who can help us every Tuesday. Then Thursday is an open session, so we have a good mix of guys and girls for the games.”
Working with partners such as WorkingRite, Street Soccer’s employability partner, players like Reece have been able to find new opportunities off the pitch, which has aided their personal development.
“Through Street Soccer, I have also had the chance to speak to WorkingRite and have started working with Cancer Research every Monday, which has been big for me.”
As part of the one of the sessions at Goals, players have also been able to work towards an SCQF qualification in sports and exercise, something that interested Reece particularly.
“The Tuesday’s have been really beneficial for me, particularly. Earning an SCQF was a proud moment and having the chance to work towards that every Tuesday has helped me along the way.”
With players of all ages making up a core of the regulars at Street Soccer sessions in the Granite City, Reece highlighted that there was a sense of both excitement and anxiety to return to their weekly structure after the easing of restrictions.
“After the last few lockdowns, it was really important to get back playing football. I could notice how tough the first few sessions were due to fitness levels but you could notice how chirpier everyone was as we progressed.”
With sessions continuing to expand in locations across Scotland, Reece is keen to continue to his seven years as a Street Soccer player.
“I’m really proud to be a Street Soccer player. We all have a great amount of respect for each other, for the coaches and for the referees. It would just be good for that to continue. I visited the Change Centre in Dundee and its amazing to see the progress Street Soccer have made. It would be great to be part of something like that.”
Sessions across Scotland are completely free of cost and our drop-in sessions are open to anyone willing to join, regardless of age, gender or ability level. You can see what’s happening in Aberdeen every Thursday from 1-3pm at Goals on Great Southern Road.
Contact Programme Coordinator, Peter Wood, on 07487603708 for more details.