So, from a very young age all I wanted to do was play football. Just like every other young black boy in Birmingham at the time I guess! I had the amazing opportunity when I turned 17/18 to join one of the top Wes Midlands clubs to do a sports degree program which birthed my passion for working with other young people. I guess it must of been destined to be because along the way I had a really bad football injury which pretty much stopped me from progressing to the next level of the football industry, and that got confirmed by the "then" director of the program who pretty much said "look your 18 now, no club will ever take you so you might as well just forget it". Those words forced me to make a decision, do I try and prove him wrong and potentially make the injury worse in the long run or do I stay on the program and pursue a career in the industry but change my end goal? At the same time I said to myself, "well if I was being told this, then how many others have been told the same thing? So that's when I decided to go into football coaching in a different way.
Instead of just doing the normal football session I would try to mix football with youth work as there was a number of areas with young players with no where to play. So once I established myself I let every young person who wanted to pursue that career understand the industry their trying to get into, there's 100's if not 1000's of other young people trying to get the very position your going for. So know the pickings are slim but your desire to be the best version of yourself should outshine anything else. From there the future was simple, just give back to each young person! and that mentality helped me feel better about not making it but gave other young people a really good insight to the game they were getting into and wanted to get into!
As the years went by my short term and long term goals started to change. I got married and had children who became the priority and I had a responsibility to let them know the world is there's to explore but know what you want to do in life at an early age. And I guess Sports 4 Kids really came out of my kids having different personalities under one roof but being able to get on like a house on fire! I sat down with my wife and said look I've got an idea of making this into a company which I think could be something good for the wider community. She was on board from the beginning because she saw the passion I had for working with young people. We started Sports 4 Kids in 2014 and 5 years later we have established ourselves in areas around Birmingham & Sandwell.
S4KOnline Store was something that came from a conversation I had with a young person who was stuck mentally in the area he was living in. He mentioned he wouldn't want to leave where he is even though he was born in a completely different country and wanted to explore the world. Which blew my mind because he had already seen parts of the world that most young people would only dream of seeing. So I thought what if I was to sponsor a young person to explore not only the surrounding areas they live near but further a field? the only way I could think of doing this was through fashion. Young people love their clothing! it gives them a sense of identity from the head right down to their feet. Everything needs to look fresh! So why not design something they would wear, give them comfortable clothing to travel in to a few destinations, find other people to invest into a young person through the store and the proceeds from he store will open up youth centres across local areas.
So far we are looking for places to run the centres but the idea of doing the online store worked out. Young people can access the store from their phones and share the idea of travelling to their dream location with friends in our forums on social media, not to mention meet like minded people who can only encourage and motivate each other to become better versions of themselves.
This is just the beginning, there's loads more we are planning to do such as open up sports and mentoring centres around local areas for young people to access and stay actives and discuss topics from mental health to Travel. The idea is to give the next generation the tools to build their own future in a positive way and leave an impact...
To find out more about what Daniel is doing follow @sports4kdsuk on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.