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Maddie discovering love of football with Crystal Palace

8 Mar 2019

How one mum has taken up football and become a coach thanks to the Palace For Life Foundation's PL Girls programme

Like many supportive parents, Maddie Szwed spent plenty of time standing on the sidelines watching her daughter play football.

Although Maddie had not really played the game herself, she was eager to be more than just a spectator.

"I wanted to start getting fit again and I also wanted to get a better understanding about the game my daughter plays," she says.

So when the Palace For Life Foundation, the official charity of Crystal Palace FC, started to run a pilot programme for mums to get active in 2016, Maddie jumped at the chance.

The fun recreational sessions, delivered through the Premier League Girls football scheme, ran alongside her daughter's training, giving mums who would otherwise be waiting for their children something to do.

"It's just a really nice opportunity for like-minded ladies of all different size, shapes, fitness levels, ages, to come along, kick a football around, learn more about the game, learn some skills and just have a bit of a run-around," she says.

Being a part of the Palace Pumas, which was voted Best Participation Initiative at the FA Women's Awards in September, has not only inspired Maddie to get active.

Funding from the Palace for Life Foundation allowed Maddie to complete her FA Level One coaching qualification and she uses that knowledge to coach her daughter's Under-13 football team in Caterham, Surrey.

"I find it really rewarding," she explains. "When I'm playing football with the ladies, coaching the girls, or at game, I switch off to everything else that's going on in my life. It's time back for me.

"Without the Palace For Life Foundation, none of this would have happened. I've discovered a love for football that I never thought I'd have."

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