TEAM TALK

DAEQUAN JOSEPH

15 Year Old Queen's Park Resident 

How did you first hear about QPG? 

I heard about QPG when they first launched a Football Academy in Queen's Park Gardens from a few local teenagers, who couldn't believe it was free. I went to my first session in June 2016. Even though I had lived in Queen's park for 5 years at the time, I hadn't been to the park before, and now I've been going twice a week for the past 2 years. 

In this time, I have played three major matches, and was given Man of the Match when we played against Actual Soccer in Wormwood Scrubs in Spring 2017. 

How has QPG benefitted you? 

QPG has given me the opportunity to not only improve my football skills, but also to grow as a person. I used to be very impatient and unwilling to work as part of a group, and now my teamwork skills have greatly improved. My confidence has also improved through paying matches and taking part in specialist training days with the QPG Sports Team. Since QPG opened a community hub near my house, I have also been able to get free help with my assignments throughout the week, meaning that I have more time for football at the weekends. 

What is your favourite thing about QPG?

I really like the training on Sundays because we have a coach from QPG and another one from London Sports Trust, and it's nice to be able to receive feedback from two different coaches. I think that the coaches are really committed and passionate about football and the local area, and they have done everything they can to help myself and other young people. I am really grateful that I got the opportunity to design the current QPG kit, having won the competition earlier this year. To be chosen as winner from over 50 entries and now to be wearing the kit with pride at every match is a really rewarding feeling. 

If you could improve anything, what would it be?

If I could improve anything, I would have the pitch as astroturf, as it can become quite slippery after it has rained. Football is not supposed to be played on concrete, and although QPG is doing everything they can to make it work, I do think that a 4G pitch would really make things a lot better. I just don't understand why it has not already been done. 

Do you enjoy living in Queen's Park? 

Yes, I do. There are a lot of good people who live and work in the area, and I think young people sometimes get a bad rep, but there isn't really much for us to do locally, so that's why I'm so glad there is free football a few times a week, and a community hub that has events for people of my age, otherwise I wouldn't enjoy living here as much. 

Before QPG, what other youth facilities were there on offer to yourself and other young teenagers?

The only other place I went before QPG was the Jubilee Sports Centre on Caird Street, and it wasn't that often. I think if it wasn't for QPG, or The Avenues Youth Club, we would be really bored, as there wouldn't be anything else to do. And now that the Jubilee is going soon, it just makes me even more grateful for the free QPG football and the multi-sports sessions. 

What do you hope for QPG in the future? 

I hope that the number of people that comes to QPG gets bigger every year, because then we can have more matches and play against other local teams. We have a match coming up with Queen's Park Sharks, who are based in Brent sides, and I think these matches could be more regular if we had other players with various strengths joining our QPG teams. I think it would also be cool to see QPG get a minibus so that we can go to matches that are out of the local area where we can hopefully win trophies and medals. 

Where do you see yourself in 10 years' time? 

I'm not sure what I want to do as a career just yet, but I do know that when I am older I want to be a football coach, and help other young people to benefit from free football training in my local area, as it helped me a lot and it would be nice to do the same as what my coaches have done for me. I may even be coaching for QPG in a few years! 

IBRAHIM ABU KHAIT

13 Year Old Queen's Park Resident 

How did you first hear about QPG? 

I saw a post on Instagram saying there was football starting in the park, and I thought I would give it a try, and after a few sessions, I ended up training 4 times a week and I really enjoyed it. After a year I was voted as Player of the Year and got a trophy.

How has QPG benefitted you? 

It has got me out of the house and it has made me a lot more active. I now don't just take part in the football training, but I also attend the athletics and multi-sports sessions as well because it helps me stay fit and also helps me work out certain muscles before a big match. If QPG football or Sports didn't exist, I would just be at home playing Playstation or just watching TV. I am really happy QPG exists and that I'm not unhealthy or lazy. 

What is your favourite thing about QPG?

My favourite thing about QPG is that I have been able to make a lot more friends and that the training is really professional. We play every week and the coaches even come to the park at Christmas and other holidays. I've only ever had one week off, because of the bad weather. 

If you could improve anything, what would it be?

If I could play every day I would, and at the moment there is only 4 sessions a week, which is quite a bit, but one day I hope it will be every day, especially for people my age, because I would actually go. 

Do you enjoy living in Queen's Park? 

I do, but there are also a lot of negatives about the area. I think it's a real shame that some of the adults don't seem to care about the young people. I've seen adults dump rubbish on our streets, and in our park, and I think they set a really bad example and make our area look a bit rundown. 

Before QPG, what other youth facilities were there on offer to yourself and other young teenagers?

Before I joined QPG I wasn't part of anything else. I moved here a few months before the football started and since being here, there is not much else that I would like to take part in. QPG really is the best thing about Queen's Park and I think without it, there would be nothing to do. 

What do you hope for QPG in the future? 

I really want QPG to go on more trips away, and I want to help to develop the over 12s team in the league and win more trophies for my local area. 

Where do you see yourself in 10 years' time? 

I'm really interested in Marketing and Advertising. We talk about Branding at school. But I would really like to help as many people around the world as possible, whilst still playing and coaching football in my spare time. Football is fun for me, but I want to own my own successful business. 

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