Youth, courage, success is a mantra that courses through the history of Manchester United, and one that the club’s Foundation adheres to as well. Hailing from Old Trafford, Yasmeen Ali is a prime example of this.
Starting out as a participant on the Foundation’s Primary Stars programme, before attending Stretford High School and being mentored by Foundation coach Otto Malone, Yasmeen later enrolled on our BTEC course at Eccles College, and then recorded 166 hours of volunteering as part of the V99 programme. She is now working as a primary delivery officer for the Foundation, aiming to afford the same opportunities she experienced to the next generation.
Her inspirational story has been acknowledged and rewarded by the Premier League with their Community Captain award. These awards are being presented to more than 100 members of the public who have made an outstanding impact at their club.
“Receiving this award really means a lot to me and it makes me reflect on my journey and how far I’ve come,” Yasmeen told us.
“I remember winning a Foundation certificate when I was around eight or nine and I absolutely loved it; little did I know that it was going to be the start of long journey with them.
“I’d like to think that me being awarded Community Captain will show our young people that they could be here in 10-15 years’ time. If I can do it, then they can do it too.”
Yasmeen was presented with a PL30 armband and commemorative pennant by Manchester United legend Wes Brown, who applauded her community spirit.
“A good captain leads by example and I think it's clear to see Yasmeen embodies that spirit and is an inspirational figure in the local community,” he said.
“Yasmeen’s achievements deserve to be recognised – many congratulations to her. She has been has involved in the Foundation for many years and I've seen first-hand how important this work is to young people and the community.”
The Foundation’s CEO, John Shiels MBE, echoed Wes’ words: “Yasmeen truly deserves to be called Manchester United Foundation’s Community Captain. Her journey is so inspiring and she is living proof of the work that the Foundation does every single day.
“I’m so proud that she is now a full-time member of our team and is a real asset to us, the wider Foundation and the schools and young people she works with and inspires.”
The event to mark Yasmeen’s contribution took place at Stretford Sports Village – her old stomping ground, no less – during one of the Foundation’s many school holiday camps currently taking place across Greater Manchester.
Tom Sellers, community engagement manager for Manchester United Foundation, said: “These particular camps, one at Stretford and one at Partington, are being funded by Trafford Council and give the young people the opportunity to come down and have a fantastic time and enjoy some healthy food together too.
“The kids today have also enjoyed the exciting bonus of having a United legend visit and get involved with the matches, the chance to see the Premier League trophy in person and, of course, the opportunity to listen to Yasmeen who will no doubt be an inspiration to them.”
The PL30 event and Yasmeen's presentation was featured on BBC Match of the Day this morning.