Colchester United Community Foundation staff members have recognised and praised the achievements of one of their colleagues, having progressed through the girls’ pathway as a player, and going on to give back to the local community.
Rosa Devall started her journey with Colchester United Community Foundation as a player in the Girls Development Centre, an invitation only group, after she impressed her coaches in 2018. Having stayed on the pathway until the end of her time with the U16s, Rosa later began to volunteer with the Foundation. Her journey as a player is not over, however, as she still participates at Colchester United’s open-access Women’s Football sessions every Wednesday evening.
Her coaching began in 2022, when Rosa started to volunteer with the foundation, coaching in the Girls Development Centre (GDC) for 2 hours a week, and completed her FA Level 1 in Coaching Football. This was a qualification she was able to do through a funded programme, thanks to her involvement with the Foundation.
Rosa continued to impress Foundation staff with her coaching, which led to her recently being offered a part-time role as a paid member of staff – an offer that she was delighted to accept.
After being presented with her One of Our Own scarf and framed picture by Colchester United first team players Connor Hall and Arthur Read at one of our Easter Soccer Camps, Rosa sat down to discuss her journey so far.
“I finished with the U16s group but was keen to stay involved in football. I love sharing my knowledge and experiences with the girls that we have on the centre now and it’s great to see their smiles after they achieve something that they didn’t think that they could.”
“It’s a great route for me to have lined up once I’ve finished playing, so I love coaching and being able to give back.”
A regular attendee at the JobServe Community Stadium, Rosa gets to as many home matches as she can with her family and friends. Speaking on life as a Colchester United fan, Rosa reflected “I used to go a lot with my family when I was younger, I’ve always been a supporter, so I still go as much as I can to watch the team.”
From a lifelong supporter, to a player, to now being One of Our Own, Rosa has been on quite the journey with Colchester United.
“I knew of the Premier League Supports campaign and I had heard about One of Our Own, but I never expected to even be considered for it, let alone win it!” she admits. “I am glad that people think I’m good enough to be involved and am deserving of this award, I’m just so thankful for the opportunities that I’ve been given!”
Rosa names Rick Goldsbrough (Head of Community), Niamh Gamble (Head of Girls & Women’s Football) and Jake Mullinder (Head of Business Development & Investment) as key people that have helped her on her journey to getting to where she is today.
“Jake was my coach when I first started with the GDC, so he has played a huge part, then obviously Niamh came in to the club and she’s been great with me and started to talk about my options with me and has been really supportive with my coaching. Her and Rick have been really good to me, finding me opportunities to get involved and develop my coaching, so they’ve all been great support in their own different ways.”
Head of Girls and Women’s Football, Niamh Gamble, says “Rosa was already on our GDC pathway when I joined the organisation a couple of years ago, but instantly some of her qualities stood out to me. Her leadership was a great asset of hers and this has not just been as a player, but also now as a coach too. She’s a great example of what the Foundation and our pathway is all about. It’s great that she’s been able to go on to coach and support the next generation, sharing what she learned growing up and is really deserving of this award and the recognition.”
The ‘Premier League Supports’ campaign will be visible at all Premier League matches between 1st and 9th April. During this period, clubs across the game are celebrating a person who has been involved in one of the programmes funded by the Premier League, which are delivered at community venues and schools across the country.
As part of the campaign, the League is announcing two further investment packages, which will positively impact clubs at multiple levels, which will form part of the £1.6 billion investment that the Premier League has committed for wider football and communities between 2022 and 2025.
Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters said: “The Premier League is proud to provide world-leading financial support for football at every level, helping thousands of clubs to have a positive impact on their local community.
“Our wide-ranging investment supports an array of programmes within communities and the ‘Premier League Supports’ campaign is an opportunity for clubs at all levels to celebrate the unsung heroes who help deliver or participate in this activity.
“The new funding announcements we are making highlight our commitment to deliver more support than ever before and will benefit the people and places that are the heartbeat of football up and down the country.
“The strength of the football pyramid in this country is unique and we will continue to look at new ways to support the entire game, directing funds where they are needed most.”
Over the first two weeks of April, the Premier League will be showcasing the impact of its flagship community and education programmes, Premier League Primary Stars, Premier League Kicks and Premier League Inspires, as well as the programmes run through the Premier League and PFA Community Fund.
Investment for these programmes is distributed through the Premier League Charitable Fund, which is one of the biggest sport charities in the world. Grants are given to professional club community organisations across the Premier League, EFL and National League, helping them employ more than 6,200 people.
Annual investment into the Premier League Charitable Fund has more than tripled in a decade, with a three-year budget in excess of £100 million.
A range of content highlighting the Premier League’s support for wider football and communities will be available on the League’s digital channels between 1 and 9 April.
More information on the Foundation and the programmes we offer can be found on our website, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts.