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The dream for most Manchester United fans is to one day play on the Old Trafford pitch, however if you’re not a budding young footballer, how close can you come to the hallowed turf at the Theatre of Dreams? Foundation participant Zainab has the answer…

United and Zainab

Local resident and Stretford High School pupil, Zainab, realised her dream of assisting the Manchester United first-team squad in the summer of 2015. The exclusive role of a ball assistant at Old Trafford had, up until the 2015/16 season, been a predominantly male-orientated position. Changes in policy and attitudes led to the welcome introduction of female ball assistants at the start of the season.

The 15-year-old was encouraged to apply for the position due to her good grades, attitude and leadership skills within a class room environment. This behaviour did not go unnoticed and Zainab was awarded the role as her energy and passion for the club shone through during the interview process.

During her time as a ball assistant the changes in Zainab have been very noticeable. A once shy, yet determined, teenager has now emerged as a strong and confident young woman with a positive outlook on life and fantastic prospects of a future working within the sport industry.

Alongside being a ball assistant, Zainab has taken the opportunity to carry out work experience as part of the Move With Manchester United physical literary team. This on-the-job experience of teaching young children basic exercises, such as hopping, throwing and balancing, allowed Zainab to use her new-found confidence and voice to have a positive impact on local young people, all whilst proudly wearing the badge of the club she loves.