More than a game

Man Utd name teenager Arissa as Community Captain

20 Feb 2024

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Over the last four years, 16-year-old Arissa has gone from a participant at Premier League Kicks to joining Manchester United Foundation’s Youth Board and inspiring fellow young people in the local community.

In recognition of her hard work and personal development, Manchester United captain Bruno Fernandes presented Arissa with a Community Captain award pennant and special captain’s armband as part of the Premier League's “More than a game” campaign.

Arissa has completely turned her life around. After being initially referred to the Foundation’s targeted prevention programme (funded by the Premier League) four years ago, she took part in workshops around youth violence prevention and personal development.

As a result of her engagement, Arissa joined a Street Reds (also known as Premier League Kicks] session in Moss Side, utilising her love of football to develop her confidence and leadership skills.

Kicks uses the power of football to engage with young people such as Arissa to help them fulfil their potential by providing access to free weekly football sessions and education workshops in safe and supportive community environments.

It was with this support that Arissa really began to raise her aspirations and make decisions that would give her a better outlook in life. This included joining the Foundation’s Youth Board, where she has been a part of social action projects and discussions around youth violence with dignitaries from Greater Manchester Police, Salford Council, and presenting to Greater Manchester Mayor, Andy Burnham.

At the end of 2023, Arissa was successful in joining the Street Games Youth Advisory Board as an advisor, inputting to national policy around youth community sport and engagement.

 “It’s been amazing to be here today, meet Bruno and receive this award; it means a lot to me," Arissa said. "Manchester United Foundation is not just football, it’s a safe space for a lot of kids. I’ve always said if I can help a kid like I was helped, I think I’d be very grateful.”

After meeting Man Utd's Community Champion, Fernandes believes that Arissa is an inspiration to others.

Arissa, Bruno Fernandes

“It’s been a pleasure to meet Arissa today and hear all about her journey with the Foundation," he said. "It’s amazing what programmes like these can do for young people in the local community and how it can literally change their life.

“This is what Manchester United is about, supporting young people and being there for our communities and fans. I’m sure Arissa will go on to do great things in her life and I’m fortunate to present her with this award.”

What is Premier League Kicks?

Man Utd are one of 90 clubs currently delivering the Premier League Kicks programme.

Since its launch in 2006, PL Kicks has engaged more than 520,000 young people such as Arissa, delivering over 1m hours of free sessions at 4,900+ venues across England and Wales.

Sessions take place in some of the most high-need areas, Kicks creates opportunities for young people who are at risk of anti-social behaviour or youth violence to regularly engage in football, sport, mentoring and personal development opportunities.

More than a game PL-KICKS-INFOGRAPHIC-16x9

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