Rohullah Yaqubi: A Saints Connection

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Video games and getting into trouble are the staple diet of many teenagers, but since engaging with Saints Connect, Rohullah has found better ways to spend his time…

Saints Connect is a referral-based project, targeting young men and women aged 11-16 across Southampton, providing them with the opportunity to engage in sport, music and team-building activities to achieve accredited outcomes.

For Rohullah Yaqubi, 13, life before Saints Connect was very much in line with that of a stereotypical teenager.

“I used to be quite lazy,” Rohullah said. “I wasn’t really into sport, I was happier sitting indoors playing video games, or out getting into trouble.”

Rohullah was first referred onto the programme in 2017 when in Year 8 at Cantell School, and through the wide range of opportunities it provides, he has seen a big change in himself.

“Through Saints Connect I started developing my knowledge around several new sports, and the Saints Foundation staff began teaching us how to plan and deliver sessions. After just nine weeks of lessons I delivered my first session to pupils from Bassett Green Primary School.”

“That was my first real experience of delivering in front of new people, and it’s given me a real desire to continue coaching.”

As well as giving Rohullah and other Saints Connect participant’s valuable coaching experience through their Sports Leadership accreditation, they also have opportunities to develop through different unique activities.

“I got to be a guest on Voice FM in January, to talk about Saints Connect and Saints Foundation.”

“It was a really amazing experience, I spent a lot of time planning what I wanted to say about Saints Connect and how it had helped me. I also have a big interest in music so it was great to see what it was like behind the scenes of a working radio station.”

“As well as going on Voice FM, I’ve also been indoor skydiving and rock climbing with Saints Connect, but the most rewarding experiences have been helping deliver sessions at Southampton FC’s training ground. Not only because it’s amazing to spend the day at Staplewood, but also to see how young people respond to our leadership, and the positive effect we can have on them.”

“My aspirations for the future are to try and build on my coaching skills, and I am strongly considering pursuing this through college now too.”

“Saints Connect has given me a more positive attitude towards learning, and I have developed key leadership skills that will definitely help me in life, which I can’t wait to build on even more.”

To find out more about Saints Connect, please contact Steve Bollon at sbollon@saintsfc.co.uk, or call 02380 711998.

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