As you know, with each purchase made we donate 5% of the purchase to a charity of your choice. We have recently selected three new projects to support and we thought you might want to get to know them a little better, so you can best decide who you want to donate your money to!
Coach Annie Z Foundation
Coach Annie is a professional FA football coach, who has set up a foundation aimed at beating stereotypes in football, inspiring young girls to get active and to be role models within their community. We sat down with Annie to discover more…
When did you first discover your love of football?
My love for the game started when I was a little girl – having two older brothers meant that I was a tomboy. I turned my hobby into my career, undertaking my FA Level 1 & 2 qualifications to become a qualified coach. Out of 400 Sunday-league managers, I was the only female manager! Unfortunately I had to step down from this role, as I experienced the harsh reality of racism and sexism within the football industry (as well as being a woman, I am also a British South Asian Muslin woman). This hasn’t stopped me though, as I am proud to say that I am a National Ambassador for Sporting Equals, Women in Football and Football for Peace.
There is something special about football, that makes me feel alive with a sense of belonging and safety!
What is the purpose of the Coach Annie Z Foundation?
We want to empower, inspire and encourage girls and young women to realise their potential, by using football as a tool. We support them to achieve their personal, social and educational goals, and become positive role models within their communities. The Coach AnnieZ Foundation will give BAME girls and young women a safe platform where they can engage in football sessions to develop transferable skills and have fun with their peers, in an environment which is respectful of their religious and cultural needs. As a female Muslim coach I understand the religious, cultural and family barriers these girls often face and I have channeled this into the work of the foundation which provides them with an outlet for positively engaging in football.
What inspired you to set up the Coach Annie Z Foundation?
After I won the Sky Sports Women of the Year 2015 and Helen Rollason Award for Inspiration I was invited to be a guest speaker at the FIFA Women’s International Conference in Zurich (FIFA HQ). Seeing how supportive my fellow peers were, and the rising acknowledgment of Women’s Football, I knew I wanted to make a difference in young girls life using football. With the support of my advisor Andy Reed OBE who shared my vision for the foundation and the positive impact it can have on young people.
With Andy’s guidance I created a five-year business plan which includes the foundation working regionally and nationally. We are currently waiting for our charitable status confirmation and once we are officially registered as a charity we will be in a position to seek funding to deliver mentoring and coaching sessions to empower, inspire young women from diverse communities.
Do you have a 5 year plan?
At the moment we are working to deliver projects in South London, East and West Midlands and Manchester over the next five years. After that we hope to take it international! I have already had a taste of this having travelled to Malaysia in 2016 as a guest of the British High Commissioner who gave me the opportunity to coach young refugee girls from the Rohinya community.
What will you put your Boudavida donation towards?
The donation from Boudavida will be put towards delivering football sessions to young girls as part of the elite development sessions and also the social inclusion community coaching sessions. These sessions will continue to support individual player development and empower them to develop self-confidence on and off the pitch.
Describe the hardest challenge in sporting career that you have had to overcome?
The hardest challenge I have had to overcome aside from racism, sexism and Islamaphobia is being accepted and taken seriously as a professional elite coach that I feel I have the potential of becoming. I have sacrificed so much to spend time studying, watching, delivering and planning training sessions to showcase my potential, knowledge and game understanding as an elite coach. Football is my passion and I am going to continue to chase my dreams of becoming a full-time paid coach in a professional club. I want the girls I coach to see that we can overcome barriers to achieve our goals in life.
Read more on the Coach AnnieZ website: