England and Arsenal Ladies Superstar Visits our Street Elite Girls Session

On Thursday 16th March 2017, England and Arsenal Ladies superstar Rachel Yankey came to visit our Street Elite girl’s session in Poplar, Tower Hamlets. Whilst the girls were aware Rachel was coming to the session, they did not know when and in between exercises, the girls kept on asking excitedly “when is she coming?”  During our game of cone rush, Rachel walked in through the studio doors and with a huge smile on her face and greeted the Street Elite girls.

Rachel sat down with the Street Elite girls and spoke openly and honestly about her football career as an England and Arsenal legend with 129 England international caps, the most capped player of all time. The girls asked Rachel a range of questions about what she was like at school, how she balanced her football career with her social life, as well as her greatest achievements and her greatest challenges both personally and professionally. The girls were surprised to learn the gender discrimination Rachel faced as a female footballer, especially the fact that she cut her hair off as a child so she could play for the boy’s football team because there were no girl’s teams! When she eventually joined a girls’ team, still rocking her short haircut, she was accused of being a boy because she was too good, alas she persisted and she said she wouldn’t change any of her experiences.

Rachel enthusiastically joined in during the activities with the girls, not surprisingly, being very competitive, her team won each round! She made the girls feel incredibly comfortable and her presence alone brought a great energy to the session. The girls left the session feeling inspired to persevere not only in fitness, but in their journey from NEET (not in education, employment or training) to EET (education, employment or training). Rachel said “Street Elite is an amazing programme and we should be proud of the work we are doing with the girls.”

Thank you to Rachel Yankey for the inspirational energy and honesty on behalf of Street Elite, The Berkeley Foundation and The Change Foundation.

To find out more about the Street Elite programme, please contact: siledwith@thechangefoundation.org.uk