Escaping Racism & finding therapy in Sport!

Growing up in Dorset in the 80’s from a dual heritage background was sadly very difficult.

I’m glad to say in today’s multicultural society, racism is slowly dying out but back then it was a frightening daily obstacle to navigate.  Luckily for me I was introduced to football.

It was something that came very natural to me and I was able to take myself away from the hurt and pain of bullying and channel all my bad feelings into the beautiful game in a positive manner.

The beautiful game

To this day, the power of football still bewilders me… Kicking a round object into a goal captures the worlds attention on a daily basis.

I feel very fortunate to have played the game at Professional and International level.

Football has taken me to places I could have only dreamt of as a kid. Scoring on my International debut for the Philippines National Team was an incredible experience.

From messing about with my Mitre Delta in Wareham Recreation Ground to The 100,000 seater KL stadium in Malaysia. Wow.  I have lived the dream and it still gives me goose bumps when I think back to those big moments.

Director of therapeutic Mentoring

As Director of Therapeutic Mentoring for the Koru Project, I wanted to bring in football as my main tool to help these kids as I know how incredibly engaging it can be. I feel very fortunate to be able to strike up relationships very quickly as I know how difficult this can be with these kids who can often be very reluctant coming to a session when the word ‘therapy’ is mentioned.

Time and time again when I bring out the football, there is always an unsaid positive connection between us. Also, being able to empathise with their struggles of hardship drawing from my own childhood experiences tightens the bond and trust between us. Body movement is vital when working with these kids with attachment disorders.

Chad Gould Archive Shots

Practitioners such as Besell Van der Kolk ‘The body keeps score’ states that there is so much unconscious emotional memory in the body, that movement can heal. Once the connection is established I use Dan Hughes’s PACE model when communicating with them. I offer a genuine authentic relationship where they can have a space to relax and emotionally rest. We share secondary intersubjectivity moments whilst playing football that heals the Limbic part of their brain from the early developmental trauma they have been subjected to. All of which has been backed up by neuroscience.

I feel very lucky having a job where in essence, the therapeutic outcomes will come from simply a kind and caring relationship where we share a common interest.

“Scoring a goal in front of thousands of people was such an indescribable feeling and experience that I will never forget but working with these kids on a daily basis is without doubt the best thing I’ve ever done.”