My name is Jaz Kaur, I am 29 years old, British-Indian born and raised in Southampton.
My role in the game is to coach and manage children to be the best they can be, to provide them with knowledge, guidance and support on their journey - one way I do this is through coaching itself and the time we have together during those sessions and in my session plans. I mentor and motivate children, empower and inspire them to achieve their full potential in the game like I have done so, with Level 1 and 2 qualifications in coaching football already achieved.
My love for football started from the age of 8. I often found myself going out to play with my cousins. We would be out for most of the day playing football and I realised then that I enjoyed playing football a lot. Over the years I stuck at it playing in and after school. I then started watching football and took a keen interest in Manchester United as my family and cousins were also Manchester United fans. David Beckham quickly became my inspiration, I loved his style, loved the way he played and his love and passion for the game really grew on me, it wasn't just on the field but the interviews he gave and the way he spoke about his performance and that of the team. After some time it made me realise that this is what I wanted to be doing and not just for a hobby. When I received my first football shirt, I made sure it had the number 7 printed on the back with my name on it - I wanted that constant reminder of my role model and when i wore that shirt, I felt I stepped into his shoes.
My culture did impact me playing football, particularly when I was younger. When I was growing up I felt it was a barrier for me as sport was not well known for a young Asian girl like myself. Football in particular was known as a sport in which males took part in, it was common amongst boys but not for females or so I was often told. The showing of any skin was also something I was not allowed to do therefore wearing shorts and showing my legs was forbidden. I faced many challenges along the way. One of the challenges was trying to convince my parents, my father in particular that playing football was something I wanted to pursue as a career and that it was the one thing I felt I was very good at and had a talent for. It was hobby at first but the fire within made me realise that I wanted to be doing this as a profession but I struggled to take it to next level.
I have faced many barriers along the way, but I find sharing my experiences has helped me. I have talked about it on the radio, taken part in interviews as well as this piece now on the Hampshire FA website, it all helps to shine the light. I am again sharing my story hoping to inspire others who are also facing similar challenges now because I too was once in the same position that I was. I am fortunate enough to have a mentor and someone I look up to. Rosh Bhatti has helped me get to where I am today and he continues to believe in me. He reassures me that I am making good progress and supports me with my career every step of the way. Rosh is also a highly experienced coach with many amazing achievements behind me. My family are also very supportive and are proud of my achievements, now they are ever so accepting of my love for the game and even encourage me to go further with it.
I decided to get into coaching because I always had a love for football and it was something I always wanted to pursue as a career; I enjoyed it so much and during some of my struggles in life, football and coaching took me to a positive and happy place and became a sense of direction for me. I try my best to be a role model to children and to be someone they look up to. I want to be someone who shines the light on women in similar situations and to make many more females aware, that if you aspire to be something or have a dream in life, to always follow it through and let the challenges you face empower you, strengthen you and motivate you further. Let nothing get in your way but use it positively and let it support the direction you wish to take.
I am a qualified level 2 coach. I coach a girls school team at Mount Pleasant Junior School and have an under 8’s boys team within Eastleigh & District Mini Soccer League. My ambition within my footballing career is to qualify as a UEFA B licensed coach and possibly coach for a professional club or work alongside The FA. I wish to promote girls and women’s football more around my community. In the near future, I aim to set up a girls football club which gives young girls an opportunity to come and play football and enjoy themselves, give them the opportunities that I once lacked. Give them an environment where we can openly talk about any challenges they are facing and if I can support them, then I will make it my priority to do just that like the support I have been given by my own Mentor.
I feel I can inspire other women by sharing my story and life experiences around my upbringing and how football is a huge part of my life and why I decided to get into coaching. Nothing is impossible; anyone and everyone out there who has a dream can make it their reality regardless of what they are facing. I am living proof of that after all!
I think that The FA Girls football week is an amazing way of promoting girls football and I fully support girls football week as it is purely about getting girls involved in playing football and getting them active and having fun.
Girls if you are reading this, go out there and share your passion with people that may not understand why you want to do it and make it your mission to help them understand why - you'd be surprised just how much influence you could have. I have my own girls team and U8’s boys team that are both striving. One of my other achievements is working as a full time sports coach at a multi-cultural school. I am motivating more children to get active every day, boosting their confidence and simply sharing my story with them as I have done more recently with the help of Hampshire FA (by delivering my very first assembly which focused on FA Girls Football Week), I will continue on this path - motivating, leading, inspiring just like any good coach.