Asad is 17. He is the goalkeeper for Crossworld’s Football Club Project team, Asad joined Crossworld in October 2009, having been told about Crossworld by a school friend. At the time, he had been living in the UK for around 18 months. Initially anxious about how he would be treated by opponents in a men’s football league, Asad says he was made to feel at home by his coaches and team-mates: ‘As soon as I played once, the coaches and players were very friendly.’
Asad admits that he ‘did not really understand football’ when he joined, having not played very much in his home country. Having been part of Crossworld’s Football Club for three years, Asad says his understanding of the game now is ‘totally different’. He estimates that he 80% of what he knows about football he owes to his time with Crossworld. He argues: ‘Crossworld has made me a better player, more professional.’
For Asad, the key thing he has learnt from his time with Crossworld is the importance of communication. He says: ‘everyone needs to communicate in their lives, and at Crossworld I have learned how to get on and work together with people from different backgrounds.’ Asad is a trained Level 1 football coach, and plans to use this to coach other young people at Crossworld’s Friday Project.
Crossworld is very important to Asad: ‘Crossworld has helped me to make friends, and to travel to and learn about different parts of London.’ Without Crossworld, there would be no other opportunities for Asad to play football at the weekends. ‘I don’t know what I would do with my weekends without it’, he says.