Andrea Gooden – Larkspur Rovers Youth FC – Welfare Officer and Coach
For Black History Month, we want to share conversations we have had with some of the inspirational black people involved in football across Middlesex.
We caught up with Andrea, a coach and role model that we have worked closely with through her numerous roles at Larkspur Rovers Football Club.
Andrea first got into the game after her son joined Larkspur Rovers Football Club 11 years ago. Having always had an interest in sport and physical activity, Andrea took the opportunity to start coaching a girl’s teams at the club. From there she has gone from strength to strength completing her FA Level 1 Coaching Course and now coaching many teams across the club – boys’ teams, girls recreational, nurseries, just play – you name it, she does it! Not only is Andrea a coach for the club, she strives to provide the safest possible environment for all having taken on yet another role as a club welfare officer.
Andrea is very passionate about aborting stereotypes when it comes to black players, particularly when it comes to black female players. In the black community it is often stereotyped that “black girls should be athletic… football is not deemed for black girls.” Andrea discussed the lacking representation of black female players or coaches at both grassroots and elite level meaning there are not enough role models for young black girls to look at and try to emulate. Although the representation of black players and coaches may be few within the professional game, Andrea does a fantastic job of being a role model for the girls in her club even if she might not know it! And although Andrea has 3 boys of her own, her true drive for inclusion lies within girls “I love coaching girls and giving them opportunities.”
After asking Andrea what she thinks we can do to support the black community, she responded positively towards grassroots football having an inclusive impact on the black community, “I see black players, I see black boys in grassroots, perhaps more needs to be done to support more black female players at grassroots”. Her strive for change and plead for inclusion and representation change is needed at the professional level. “The time for action is now.” Like most top-down approaches, the hope is that if more black players, coaches and leaders are seen at the elite level, more black people will get involved and endeavour to climb the ladder.
Andrea is very driven and knows she can get the support she needs, whether that be through her club or Middlesex FA. Her worry is that people in the black community may not know where to get the same support to feel included or achieve what they want from the game. Inclusive campaigns and programmes are available for different communities; however, Andrea expresses that sometimes these can get lost, and not reach the communities that need them most or are not present enough. Therefore, feels that more needs to be done across our social media platforms, television, communications and perhaps would benefit from the delivery of workshops to ensure we are making the impact we set out to.
Its great to see so many roles models like Andrea actively driving for representation of black people in the game. We hope that by celebrating black history month, we can continue to make football inclusive for all.
To find out more about Black History Month head to https://www.blackhistorymonth.org.uk/