“Always strive to do better, never stop believing in yourself”

Alec, 26

Alec grew up in Moston and went to school locally. Football was his passion and at aged 16 when the youth zone opened. At that time he was spending most of his time playing football for a team in Wales and hanging out with his friends playing football on Boggot Clough.
When MYZ opened he came into the centre to see what was going on and as a 16-year-old was excited to see the range of activities in place particularly sporting ones. MYZ became a regular hang out for him and his friends and in the early days it was a meeting point to go somewhere else. More often than not Alec and his friends would be there from when the doors opened to closing time!
As time went on Alec’s football career continued, but he was also inspired by the work of MYZ to take up youth work. Starting as a young leader, he was able to connect his passion for football with a new interest in youth work. He moved quickly from being a young leader through to becoming a paid qualified youth worker at MYZ. During this period, he travelled backwards and forwards to Wales for the football and back to Harpurhey for the youth work sessions. Then he received a call asking him to play for the national team of Zimbabwe. At this point he had to choose between football and youthwork. Alec smiles about it now as at the time he was torn! He had enjoyed his youth work experience and had learned so much through the training to become a paid member of the team. He had experienced first-hand how staff at MYZ had encouraged and supported him personally with his journey to professional football and he was keen to be part of supporting other young people to realise their dreams. However, it was an offer he could not refuse. He continues to play for the national team of Zimbabwe and in the world of professional football across the globe but welcomed the opportunity to return to the club to be part of the 10th Birthday Celebrations.
He looks back fondly of his time at MYZ and recognizes the importance of the relationships he had here with staff and the opportunities and experiences it offered him as young person. He maintains some of those relationships now.