My name is Sofia and I am an aspiring environment consultant. My key interests are in travel, cultural and social exchange, environmentalism and sustainability.
Choosing a course that focused on my interests as much as possible, I have graduated from Loughborough University with a degree in Geography. During my time at university I was fortunate enough to gain a scholarship with the ERASMUS+ programme to study abroad for a year at Lund University, Sweden. From this study-exchange I not only gained a diploma in International Studies, but a wealth of friends from all over the world as well as priceless memories and experiences.
To turn my social and environmental passions into a career, I seek to start a master’s degree in Environment Management. Providing constant support and helping me develop my portfolio and networks as much as I can before starting this next chapter of my life is KickOff@3.
Initially joining the organisation as a youth volunteer, I am excited to now hold an Ambassador role. Pushing forward the philosophy and efforts of KickOff@3 as an article writer and fundraiser, I have also gained a huge body of connections and invaluable experiences thanks to the KickOff@3 team and its founders. Through KickOff@3's connections I have landed myself a place as a journalism/PR intern with Naked Truth. This position has helped give me the platform I need to explore my interests and develop the necessary to successfully gain a master’s and future career in the environmental field.
I am a huge supporter of community work and youth engagement, and I couldn’t be prouder to be involved with an organisation like KickOff@3. As an ambassador I hope to inspire younger people to never stop the grind, keep working towards their goals, and to take hold of the opportunities that are out there for them.
Through hard work, team effort and a lot of fun, we can achieve everything KickOff@3 believes in, and I am very excited to be a part of it all.
Sabrina is always smiling and radiates positive energy, everyone enjoys being around her!
As a World Youth 400m Champion in 2013, she demonstrated her talent and tremendously focused hard work ethic achieving this outstanding title.
Her athletics training started at grass roots level from school and quickly escalated through the ranks to represent GB. Always working hard academically she had to find a balance to reach her very best in academics and sport.
Following her great achievements in athletics and starting university to study psychology she experienced numerous setbacks through injury and being diagnosed with lupus.
The hurdles Sabrina has had to overcome to get to this point in life at a young age, shows the mental strength and toughness she has. Sabrina has never given up on anything she sets her mind on, she has a high level of resilience which underlines all of her success to date.
She has a 1st Class Honours degree in psychology and is training hard in athletics.
Her passion is mental health & well-being where she now uses her qualification to provide open discussion on mental health issues & removing the stigma associated.
Sabrina is always looking for the positive and bringing energy to the situation to overcome adversity. She is there always open to listen to others and offer support. She mentors young athletes and has a website where you can find out more: Sabrinabakare.com
Growing up in Belfast during the troubles, Catrina was always conscious of the effects of inequality and how it negatively impacted on individuals and how it devastated communities. Even though it was a tough place to live she loved growing up in Belfast and her life experiences there definitely shaped her strong “fiery” character. She comes from a large close family who all still live in and around Belfast.
She left home and moved to England aged 16 to seek other opportunities due to the multi layered challenges she faced at home. Life in England wasn’t easy for her either and she continued to experience challenging times.
Catrina cites education was the key component to opening doors of opportunity, even when she became a young mum of two children she continued to gain qualifications. The time invested in education enabled her to build a career in sport development. She continued to progress and had the privilege of managing community focused teams delivering projects that concentrated on reducing inequalities to physical health & wellbeing within Luton where she has lived for the last 30 yrs.
Catrina’s underlying belief is that everyone should have the opportunity to reach their full potential. She has always recognised particular groups of people are marginalised, face injustice and experience exponential challenges which inhibits their progression. This should not be the case but it is!”
Through her employment at Active Luton and voluntary work she has been able to follow her passion to support, assist, mentor and develop people from all communities, regardless of their circumstances and background. Catrina’s work has provided her with the opportunity to drive forward projects, make continuous improvements and most importantly challenge systems and processes.
One of Catrina’s favourite projects was the setting up and management of the National Award Winning ME TIME community based project funded by Sport England. This project was set up to address the high levels of inactivity amongst women from Luton’s diverse communities.
She was the winner of the Luton’s Best Sporting Inspiration Award in 2017 after winning the 50k South Coast Challenge to raise funds for her niece who attends a special educational needs school. Catrina was also Luton’s Sports Coach of the year in 2012 for developing young athletes from grassroots to county, national and international level.
My name is Jess King and I was born and raised in Liverpool. I spent 10 years playing for Liverpool from age 8-18 before moving to Vancouver for university on a football scholarship. I then came back and played for Everton, ISC Gunners (Seattle), FC Basel (Switzerland), USV Jena (Germany), Kolbotn (Norway) before moving back to England and have been at Lewes since January 2019. I feel very fortunate to have experienced everything that I have and moving to Canada changed my life as it totally expanded my horizons and adjusted my mindset.
I am excited to get involved with Kickoff@3 because they embody the things that I value. I truly believe that it is important to give back and help pave the way for younger generations. I want to help encourage young people on their football journey, whatever the level, and I know that KickOff@3 fosters that environment. I also want to be a part of an organisation that encourages positive habits, self belief and helps young people to understand how ones actions can affect others. I want to see an increase in numbers of female coaches within in the game, at all levels, and see the increase in females from within the BAME community - from the WSL all the way down to grass roots. Therefore, being an ambassador for KickOff@3 encompasses all of these things.
I am a young, aspiring footballer, who has made the first step into breaking the barriers of limitations, that many other young players give themselves in this day and age. In 2018 I was offered a dream football scholarship in the USA, where I would compete at the highest collegiate level, whilst working towards a degree in accounting. This opportunity lead to many accomplishments, such as Division 1 All American, multiple player of the month, awards, team of the week (5x) awards, and am currently leading the nation in assists.
For me, Kickoff@3 is not just a local voice, or a non profit organization. This is a beautiful opportunity to lead many others like myself into not just being content with the position, and destiny that they, or others in their environment have chosen, and decided for them.
This role has given me to opportunity to show the younger generation, that you can look like me and do ANYTHING you put your mind too.
It all starts here!
Verity first met Michael and Ashley in 2017 in her role with The OLLIE Foundation. During her time at OLLIE she worked closely alongside Michael and Ashley and has continued to champion KickOff@3 ever since.
Verity's KickOff@3 journey has seen her visit MET HQ and speak to many of the KickOff@3 family, she's met MET Commissioner Cressida Dick, been part of numerous charity events, given her perspective on strategy and planning, helped out with media and marketing and more recently has taken on the updating of the website as a volunteer.
Verity now works for GamCare, the leading provider of support for anyone affected by problem gambling in Great Britain, as a Youth Outreach Officer.
As a Detective Chief Superintendent for Bedfordshire Police, the most Senior Detective in the Force, Liz led a complex portfolio of volume, serious and major crime investigations and this was built upon many years of experience as a detective, putting victims and the vulnerable at the heart of everything she did whilst ensuring that offenders were brought to justice.
Liz drove lasting cultural change initiatives to improve performance, wellbeing, employee engagement and quality standards across the board whilst embedding the Code of Ethics, creating an award-winning approach to increasing employee engagement and raising performance levels.
Nationally, Liz has worked on unlocking the potential of under-represented groups in policing through delivery on the Aspire Programme at the College of Policing and is an advocate for equality.
Liz was born in Luton and always lived and worked in Bedfordshire, her love of sports came from her family, with her parents owning a Sports shop called Kick Off! Her Dad played Youth and reserve Team Football at Tottenham in the 1960s and supports both Spurs and Luton. Liz has never played football - tennis being the sport where she represented Bedfordshire in her teens.
Liz will say that her career has had many hi-lights where she has seen the very best of humanity and lows where sadly incidents have shown the very worst of society where it is a struggle to see how someone can cause so much pain and suffering to others especially those that they purport to love.
Policing was her life for 30 years and as Liz approaches retirement she will be taking time to consider her next steps but wishes to support young people, inspire them to achieve and just like the ethos of KickOff@3, show that #WeBelieve. With the career that Liz has had it is no surprise that she supports the work of Embrace - Child Victims of Crime (embracecvoc.org.uk) in their work to make a difference supporting children, young people and families who are victims of crime.
We are proud to officially announce Marcus Gayle as a KickOff@3 ambassador. He has been supporting us and our events for some time and has done us the honour of lending his name and vast experience to our work with young grassroots footballers.
Marcus began his professional career at Brentford on leaving school at 16, making over 230 appearances over 2 spells, divided by a period on loan. In 1994 he signed for Wimbledon 1994 for whom he appeared 285 times, of which 204 were in the Premier League. Marcus headed over the border to Glasgow Rangers in 2001 but only made 4 appearances before joining Watford, playing for the Hornets 115 times. He also received the accolade of representing Jamaica in the 1998 World Cup appearing a total of 18 times. Marcus finished his playing career at AFC Wimbledon embarking upon a coaching role for the reserves over four seasons.
For the last 4 years he has worked with with "Kick It Out" delivering equality and diversity educational workshops all across the country to academy players, staff and parents. He is always available to mentor young people and support organisations like KickOff@3.
Since becoming our Ambassador, Marcus has been an enormous support to the young players at our tournaments, happy to engage, encourage and dispense both advice and awards. He has even donned the boots again for the KickOff@3 team in support of anti-knife crime charities.
Trust us, he hasn't lost the skills.
Roger has been a professional referee since the 2000 season and retired at the end of the 2018/19 season at the top of his game. His career began as assistant referee in the Football League, graduating to the Premier league in 2003. He added FIFA to his portfolio, acting as an assistant referee in Internationals between 2005 and 2007.
In 2007 The Football League promoted Roger to referee, he then spent the last seven years as Premier League referee. He was also honored by being selected to represent England for a number of important national and international events, as listed below. He is sworn to secrecy regarding any contentious incidents on which he may have adjudicated over his 19 year career. Just don't ask!
We are pleased and proud that Roger has agreed to be a KickOff@3 Ambassador going forward. He has already proven his staunch support of our ethos having presided over several matches in two of our all day youth tournaments, gently, with encouragement and support, at Wiltshire and in the Finale in Bromley. Contrary to popular opinion referees can be charming and funny – Roger is certainly not averse to a little dance occasionally.
Shane has many passions and talents but those at the forefront of our minds are his modelling career and his extensive experience working with young people from various walks of life.
As a model, Shane is in the public eye, not only as a typical model, but also as a role-model. Shane is signed with model agencies BAME, IMM and Eden. When Shane was asked to become an Ambassador for KickOff@3 we asked him for some of his modelling highlights. He had two that came to mind: featuring on the cover of Your Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wedding, and his 2020 shoot with photographer Bobby Cray.
When asked why, Shane said that the magazine shoot was "a real achievement for him personally", and that the nude shoot with Bobby Cray was "a real big hurdle for him to overcome" in terms of showing vulnerability.
It's Shane's openness and determination to overcome hurdles, and build himself into the man he knows he can become that makes him such a fantastic Ambassador for KickOff@3 and role-model for young people.
Alongside modelling he is working independently, supporting young people to help them to develop a sense of self worth and supporting them to see their relevance in their community. Basketball and music are other passions and alongside his day-to-day work, Shane also works with a team of like-minded individuals to put on charity basketball events. TipOﬀ@3 is an arm of KickOff@3 and is a community event that helps to bridge gaps between the community and police and gaps in the community itself. This initiative started in September 2018 and we are hoping to continue this for the foreseeable future.
We are excited to officially announce Paul Canoville as a KickOff@3 ambassador. He has been supporting us and our events for some time and has done us the honour of lending his name and vast experience to our work with young grassroots footballers.
His career spanned 15 years. He was signed by Chelsea from Hillingdon Borough in 1981 and went on to win the Second Division title with the club in 1983–84. However, he was more notable as the first black player to play for Chelsea, and for the negative reception he received from the racist elements of Chelsea supporters.
Despite facing significant challenges Paul shares his experiences with young people and teaching them how to build essential life skills and it is this that makes him particularly fitting for the role of KickOff@3 Ambassador.
I feel truly humbled to have been asked to be a KickOff@3 ambassador. I was first introduced to Michael, Ashley and KickOff@3 in late 2018 and immediately knew it was something that I wanted to be involved with personally. The ethos and vision of KickOff@3 is truly impressive. Having the opportunity to support and encourage young people through sport and providing them with opportunities they may otherwise not have is what drew me to KickOff@3.
As a police officer with Essex Police I know how important it is to help build good relationships between the police and the community. KickOff@3 seeks to improve those relationships whilst raising money for truly valuable charitable causes. Young people are the future and working together within our communities, I believe we can help support and guide them to fulfil their ambitions and achieve their goals.
I am fortunate to have been able to play a number of sports over the years and my passion is for team sports and that is why I am so excited to be part of the KickOff@3 journey. There are many young people in our communities who do not have the same opportunities available to them and KickOff@3 seeks to improve those opportunities and help young people learn essential life skills.
As an ambassador I hope to be able to inspire, support and motivate boys and girls to achieve their goals and am excited to have met so many like minded people bringing the vision of KickOff@3 to life. Collectively I believe we can make a difference and look forward to continuing with this great work.