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Lisa’s Blog: A Shock Premier League Skills Reunion!

Three years ago, almost to the day, I spent a week in Zambia coaching young people that wanted to become coaches or leaders within their communities as part of Premier League Skills. 

One of the course participants, Steven Siame, was a standout candidate on and off the training pitch. He achieved so much and I was really proud of how much he progressed over the short amount of time we were there.  

At the end of the course I gave some of the students Newcastle United kit which I remember they were over the moon with.  Steven told me would treasure his shirt.  He has never been to England but had heard a lot about Newcastle United on the television and researched the team on the internet when he got the chance.  

Over the years I lost contact with Steve – until last week.   I was running a Girls Football Festival at Goals, Gosforth when, to my absolute amazement, Steven walked in. As you can imagine I was in absolute shock when I saw him as you don’t expect to see people who live thousands of miles away stroll into a football tournament in Newcastle!  

I invited him to attend the Newcastle United v Burton Albion game so I could learn more about how life has changed for him.   

It was fantastic to catch up with Steven and hear about everything he has achieved.   He was visiting Newcastle as part of the Wallace Group Volunteer Zambia Induction, which incorporates a three week trip to England.  

The Wallace Group sends students every year to various countries to volunteer with organisations with where sport is the main driving force.

Part of Steven’s time in the North East included some sightseeing and Coach Personal Development. He also completed his Football Coaching Level 1 qualification as well as taking part in training sessions with Hartlepool United, Team Northumbria and Durham University FC.

When Steven is home in Zambia he is a Peer Leader at Fountain of Hope which is an orphanage for street kids. Fountain of Hope provides schooling, food, sporting opportunities and a place to stay for young boys on the street which was the situation Steven found himself in when I first met him all those years ago.  

Steven told me that seeing Newcastle United play live was a dream come true for him. He was thrilled that they won too.  He can’t wait to go back to Zambia and tell the children he coaches his story and he really hopes that one day one of the players he coaches will play on the hallowed turf at St. James’ Park.

When I went away with Premier League Skills I never thought that I would get to see just how far our star pupil would come.  It was amazing to see how much football has changed his life and the confidence that the coaching gave him to help others who now find themselves in the same situation as he was.  A very proud moment! 

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Email foundation@nufc.co.uk

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