15 year-old Steven, who attends Burnage Media Arts College, was promoted to the top job after showing bosses at the Club that he had what it takes. Singled out for his exceptional performance, positive attitude and dedication on the pitch during last season, Steven has also demonstrated his passion for the game off the pitch, taking on a voluntary role in his local community football project. Led by the Manchester United Foundation, the project provides coaching for young people in the local area including children from the local primary schools who Steven helps to coach.
Not only has Steven earned the role of head ball boy for the Club, but he was also chosen to represent his school at the 2012 Olympics, as a ball boy at the football games held at Old Trafford.
Ben Charlton, Community Development Officer at the Manchester United Foundation, which manages the ball boys, commented, “Steven has been identified as a talented footballer who deserves this opportunity. He is a motivated individual who is passionate about his match day position with the Club.”
To congratulate Steven on his new role, he was invited to the Manchester United Training Ground in Carrington to meet first-team regular, Phil Jones who revealed he also enjoyed being a ball boy as a youth player at Blackburn Rovers. The United defender said, “All the youth players at Blackburn had to be ball boys to learn about the game and I loved every minute of it. I have so many fond memories of my time as a ball boy and I can tell Steven is having just as much fun as I did.”
After meeting Phil Jones and enjoying a summer of Olympic ball boy duties, Steven can’t wait for the season to begin: “I’d been a ball boy for all of last season and it was an incredible experience, but one I didn’t think I would ever get again. Then I got a phone call from the Foundation asking me if I would be the head ball boy. It’s an amazing opportunity and I can’t wait to start.”
As head ball boy, Steven must now assume a mentoring role to the 13 new ball boys the Foundation has selected and must also take his seat next to the dug-outs, so that he can communicate with the fourth match day official.
Ian Fenn, Headteacher at Steven’s school, Burnage Media Arts College, said, “Steven has shown exceptional maturity in balancing his school work, social life and match day responsibilities. Since becoming a ball boy for United, Steven’s schoolwork has significantly improved and we are all really proud of him.”
Cliff Manager, Dave Ryan has been supervising the Club’s ball boys for over 20 years and was quick to identify Steven’s leadership qualities: “Every season we need one ball boy to return in a mentoring role to help out the rest of the team.” He adds, “Steven was always punctual, correctly dressed and very conscientious. He’s been a credit to his school and an asset to my team and I think will set a great example for this seasons’ ball boys.”