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Paula achieving her goals with Man Utd

15 Jan 2018

Manchester United Foundation has helped 17-year-old Colombian settle in England and develop her goalkeeping skills

Born in Colombia and brought up in Spain, Paula came to England three years ago but found life in Manchester difficult.

"I didn't know anyone, I left my friends and family overseas," the 17-year-old says.

"Moving to Manchester affected me a lot because I didn't know the language."

But her love of football has helped Paula to integrate and the Manchester United Foundation is playing a part in that.

Paula enrolled on a BTEC in Sport course run by the MU Foundation in partnership with Eccles Sixth Form College.

Studying has not only helped Paula to settle, it has boosted her confidence and she now aims to eventually go to university and gain employment in the sports industry.

The course allows Paula to continue playing the game.

"I've always liked sports and really liked the idea of combining that with playing on a football programme linked with Manchester United Foundation," she says.

Paula with Sergio Romero
Paula gets valuable goalkeeping tips from Manchester United's Sergio Romero

"I love the way the tutors teach us, and how they make the subjects and classroom interactive and interesting.”

Paula converted from a striker to a goalkeeper when she was younger, and the education from the Foundation helps her performance between the posts, which then has benefits outside the game, too.

"It's really helped me as on the pitch I feel like I am a better goalkeeper than when I started the course, and off the pitch I am more confident speaking to the girls on the team, and to other people outside college."

The MU Foundation provided Paula with an extra-special goalkeeping education when it arranged for Man Utd goalkeeper Sergio Romero to come along and give her a one-to-one training session.

"It was a great experience getting to know a player like Sergio; someone who has played in a World Cup Final and has won an Olympic gold medal," she says.

"He taught me a lot in a short space of time and was great at giving me advice that I now think about in training and in games."

See: Man Utd's United and Me campaign

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