Gad’s Juniors met UEFA’s Grassroots Gold Award Best Leader in assembly – and learned that football ‘isn’t just for boys’.
Founding member of the Guru Nanak FC women’s team, Parm Gill, is the first Asian woman in the UK to start a girls’ football team.
Mrs Gill, 51, talked to Gad’s 7-11-year-olds about the challenges she faced and how she made her dream a reality.
Three years ago, the mother of two boys in the Guru Nanak youth teams asked her sons’ coaches to let her start a female section. She then set about approaching every woman and every mother she knew, and many she did not, persuading them to sign up for something that did not at that point exist.
Today, there are more than 70 women and girls training with Guru Nanak. There are four female teams. Mrs Gill, meanwhile, has become something of a symbol; celebrated for her endeavours, she has also been presented with awards by the Football Association at local and national level.
As well as a player, Mrs Gill is the club’s Welfare Safeguarding Officer and coach: “We had to educate the community first to bring in the Sikh women and the diverse community. I think it’s very important for the girls to have female role models to look up to.”
The UEFA Grassroots Awards have been run annually since 2010, and invite national associations from around Europe to put forward candidates in a number of categories.
The criteria behind the Best Leader category, which was won by Mrs Gill, looks to find a person who actively works with a club and who has initiated, started or created a club.