Growing up in the shadow of Old Trafford, Yasmeen - or Yas to those who know her - epitomises what Manchester United means to the young people of Greater Manchester.
Yas first started her journey with the Foundation at the age of five, when she took part in the Premier League Primary Stars programme at Kings Road Primary School. She then went on to attend Stretford High School where she was coached by Otto Malone, a high school partnership officer.
It was at this time that Yas discovered her love of coaching. Hailing Otto as the biggest influence in her school life, she developed leadership skills and experience that would pave the way for a career in coaching.
Yas later enrolled on our BTEC Sport course at Eccles College, as well as recording 166 hours of volunteering for the V99 programme. Now - in a complete full circle - Yas is part of the Foundation’s delivery team working as a primary education officer, aiming to afford the same opportunities to the next generation.
Most recently, Yas had the pleasure of inviting students to the Carrington Training Ground for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The students took part in what they thought was a fun and games session when, to their surprise, the entire first-team squad including Ronaldo, Sancho and Rashford walked in to greet them.
Yas said: “The kids’ faces lit up when Ronaldo came through the door. They were literally pinching themselves thinking: ‘Wow, how am I here with Ronaldo, why am I in the same room?’
“The kids see the badge and think: ‘Wow, Manchester United!’ Knowing the impact that the Foundation and I can have, just like the coaches I had, is massive.
“The Foundation has been so prominent in my life and it opened up doors for me. It’s touched me in so many ways: mentally, physically and emotionally. Every aspect of my life.
“If it wasn’t for the coaches in high school and college, I don’t think I’d be doing what I’m doing now.”
Armed with an impressive collection of Foundation memorabilia, including certificates, matchday tickets and old photos, Yas’s inspiring journey embodies the Foundation’s mission to empower young people to achieve their goals. Her outstanding contribution to the Foundation and local area was recently recognised by the Premier League as part of their 30th-anniversary celebrations, with Yas being named Community Captain, receiving her award from Manchester United legend Wes Brown.
“Receiving this award really means a lot to me and it makes me reflect on my journey and how far I’ve come,” Yasmeen said.
“I’d like to think that me being made Community Captain will show to our young people that they could be here in 10-15 years’ time. If I can do it, then they can do it too.”