Welsh player Ann-Marie reflects on life-changing year | #SSNationsCup

Words from Street Football Wales

Anne-Marie has been a valuable part of Street Football Wales since joining in 2021 and will now represent Team Wales at the Street Soccer Nations Cup in Dundee.

With a vast improvement clear in her ability on the pitch, through football, she has also grown off it and is two years sober.

Looking back at her time with SFW so far, Anne-Marie recalls her first session.

“Street Football Wales was recommended to me in a recovery meeting and they explained to me the benefits I would get from it. I thought I would give it a try. I always remember my first session for feeling like a kid again and feeling alive. When I was playing football and meeting the other players, I wasn’t thinking at all about life problems.

My happy memories from childhood came back and it was really refreshing. I remember finding it quite hard and challenging because I hadn’t played street football before, but the fact that it was difficult made me motivated to improve.”

Since her first session, Anne-Marie has become fully immersed in the SFW family and is a valued member in training. She explained that the organisation have been hugely welcoming since she joined.

“Everyone welcomed me with open arms and I felt part of the team straight away. I didn’t really know what I was doing in my first session, but the staff and the other players all supported me through it.

It’s such a relaxed and informal environment where everyone gets along really well, so even if you make a mistake or you’re not playing well, you still have the support of everyone there.

It’s become the highlight of my week and has been for the last year. I look forward to training in the days leading up to it and always leave feeling happier than I did walking in.”

One of Street Football Wales’ aims is to not only help players on the pitch, but off it as well. Anne-Marie expressed that joining SFW has definitely helped with life outside of football.

“It’s helped me to understand other people’s needs and sensitive issues. When you’re part of a team, you realise how important other people are and not to be selfish, so I’ve taken that into general life. I’ve massively grown in confidence since joining, not just with football but socially as well. That’s definitely thanks to the support from the staff and all the other players.

I think my attitude has changed as well, because I’m much more driven and motivated to improve now.”

You can find out more about the Street Soccer Nations Cup and how you can get involved, here.

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