Football-mad teen turns to coaching after being told she would never play again
A football-mad Croydon girl turned to coaching after being told she would never play football again.
Deborah King, 18, suffered severe ligament damage in both her knees two years ago and was forced to give up the game she loved.
But 18 months later, when she was still in severe pain, she was approached by the Crystal Palace Foundation to become a coach.
She first discovered a problem when playing football for Croydon Girls but continued to play through the pain, not telling anyone about her discomfort.
She said: “Football was an escape for me so I didn't want to stop. I knew something was wrong but I loved football so much I carried on playing.”
Miss King turned to football when she was younger after she struggled to settle in at school.
She said: “I just loved the incredible togetherness you get when playing football, it made me genuinely feel a part of something.”
The ex-Norbury Manor Business and Enterprise College for Girls student said she had a ‘difficult childhood’ in which her parents divorced and hasn’t spoken to her father since she was 13
She takes experiences from her own childhood through to coaching: “The bad time I faced inspires me, football is more than just a game to some, I know that because it was more than just a game to me.
“Some kids, like me, can’t just stop playing football.”
Miss King volunteered as a coach for the London Youth Games and called it an ‘unbelievable’ experience.
She said: “Football is just a muse for kids who need help. Football got me through the hard times so I like that I can just be there for kids who need help.”
Miss King now studies Biomedical Science at Staffordshire University and already volunteers for the Staffordshire FA.
“It’s not about being employed for me, I love volunteering and the feeling that someone out there needs me.
"Crystal Palace Foundation inspires me, I want to own my own foundation one day. I will always be a volunteer coach, it will always be at the forefront of my mind."
Donald Forde, Head of the Foundation, said: “Deborah is such a good, wholesome, proactive young woman who is lovely to be around. She loves coaching and never wants anything back.”
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