Goal Click meets India Briar
Eight young people documented their diverse experiences of Premier League Kicks during the summer of 2021 through their own eyes and voices. The storytellers represented four club community organisations (CCOs) in the Premier League and English Football League – West Ham United Foundation, Nottingham Forest Community Trust, Luton Town Community Trust, and Pompey in the Community.
Premier League Kicks uses the reach and appeal of the Premier League and network of professional football clubs. Premier League Kicks will regularly engage children and young people of all backgrounds and abilities in football, sport and personal development – providing a trusted, positive influence in high-need areas across England and Wales.
Playing with Nottingham Forest Community Trust, India Briar wrote about her photos, football life, and the impact of PL Kicks on her community, as well as the opportunities she has had to play with the Nottingham Forest Regional Talent Club.
Can you introduce yourself and tell us about your football life?
My name is India Briar, I am 15 and my life revolves around football. I’ve been playing football since I was 10 years old, which seems quite an old age to start playing – as many people start from the young ages of 3 or 4. However, after finding my love for football, this love just blossomed and continued to grow.
I began playing cage football with all the boys during break time and lunch times at my primary school. I would be the only girl playing whilst others would be practicing cartwheels and handstands. However, being the only girl surprisingly didn’t come to mind, especially when I began to realise that I had talent at football. This is what really developed my love for the sport, socialising with boys as well as girls grew my confidence and made me a lot more outgoing.
I am about to start playing with the Nottingham Forest Academy / RTC (Regional Talent Club). I had my induction on August 9th.
I follow Peterborough United – I used to go watch them every Saturday and meet all the players and get their autographs. Unfortunately, I don’t get to watch them as much anymore.
What did you try to show with the photos? Was there any wider meaning with the photos?
I tried to show my hard work and dedication to the sport. The perspective of girls playing football is sometimes controversial as many believe it’s a “man’s sport”, which means as a girl, playing it comes with its challenges. I wanted to illustrate my love for the sport, and I hope it makes many understand that girls can also love the sport as well as boys.
Some photos were taken at a local hill in Kirkby in Ashfield – which I visit quite often to do hill sprints. It shows the hard work I put in, to be as strong as possible when playing football and it’s something I’m extremely proud of. I come to this exact hill once or twice a week as not only does it help me physically become more explosive, powerful, and strong, but also helps me mentally.
Dante is one of the Nottingham Forest coaches that runs some of the Kicks sessions. I met Dante a couple of weeks ago at the start of this project with Nottingham Forest Community Trust. He helped me document my journey at the Kicks sessions. Dante makes the Kicks sessions enjoyable to participate in and he has helped boost my confidence over the past couple of weeks of knowing him.
What is your favourite photo? Why?
Many would look at this photo and just see a regular field. However, this field means a lot to me. I visit this field every day, training here for hours and hours on my own. Taking this photo was me trying to show “my place” through my eyes. This place carries memories of all my hard work and that’s why it is my favourite photo.
Why is football important for you and your community?
Football is important because it gives teenagers like me guidance in their life. It guides us to work hard, socialise with others, be ambitious, take risks, think about our future and a lot more. Without football I would be lost, and I think many others would be too.
What ambitions do you have for the future?
My long-term goal is to become a professional footballer. I want to achieve my goals to stand out from others but to also to show people anything is possible with self-discipline, hard work, and dedication. I would really be interested in flying out to America in the future to play women’s soccer, I would like to go to Orlando or maybe New York. I persevere and continue working hard with the hope I finally achieve that. I definitely have other goals outside of football as well, such as starting my own business – probably something to do with fitness and the gym.
How does taking part in Kicks make you feel? What do you like most?
The variety of different people you meet through the Kicks sessions is one of the things I like the most. I’ve met people of all different ages and genders through the sessions that I would never have met, which is nice. I also like the mini tournaments we do as it brings out so much enjoyment in everyone plus the competitive atmosphere makes it even better.
What impact has the Nottingham Forest programme had on you?
Nottingham Forest has had a huge impact on my life. Starting the Forest Kicks sessions got me referred to the Nottingham Forest Academy / RTC (Regional Talent Club) which led to me having trials and successfully gaining a place there. I couldn’t be more grateful for the members of staff that run these Kicks sessions and the confidence boost I’ve gained from the programme has helped me in words I cannot describe.
What do you think the future looks like for football in Nottingham and England? What do you want to change?
I think the future in Nottingham and England is bright. I’ve always struggled with fitting in due to being Indian. Growing up I always stood out as I was the only brown person in my primary school, however that has started to change rapidly now. I have met so many people of different races and backgrounds whilst playing football which is amazing for me. One thing I would like to see is a change in is the number of girls that play football, especially in my area. I believe too many girls are scared of other people’s opinions. My advice is to play for yourself, because from my own experience, it’s definitely worth it.
What are the football opportunities for girls in your community?
I have started going to an all-girls session with Nottingham Forest Community Trust on Monday nights. Sadly, not a lot of girls go. They are definitely wishing for more girls to come, as it’s a good opportunity to socialise and play football even if you aren’t the best.
To view all of India’s photos, head to the Goal Click blog.