Ally Ali with his Newcastle United Foundation Young Leaders Award
Inspirational Ally Ali’s life story of triumph overcoming adversity will headline a top national football conference.
The 19-year-old Excelsior College student will tell the Premier League Kicks Co-ordinators Conference this week how working with the Newcastle United Foundation and his passion for football have given focus to his life.
Ally landed the foundation’s Young Leader Award at a glittering ceremony late last year and will this week find himself in the spotlight again at the Kicks conference at Wyboston Lakes Resort in Bedfordshire.
Kicks representatives from Premier League clubs will gather to learn more about the impact of the programme at clubs and share best practice.
Ally, who leads Newcastle United Foundation football coaching sessions with youngsters and is a flag bearer on the St James’ Park pitch before Premier League matches, arrived in Newcastle from Somalia just five years ago, speaking little English.
His determination has secured him a place in Excelsior College studying BTEC Travel and Tourism and gained him a Level One Coaching qualification with the Newcastle United Foundation, the registered charity supported by Newcastle United Football Club.
He is a talented player, bagging goals as a striker for North East side Benfield as well as Excelsior College, with hopes of making it as a professional player.
Newcastle United Foundation’s Kicks programme provides free football for young people aged eight to 19 across the North East.
More than 2,000 young people take part in the weekly sessions every year, helping them achieve their goals through football. Ally helps run sessions in Newcastle’s West End.
It gives youngsters constructive activities, increasing coaching and playing opportunities, breaking down barriers between police and young people and reducing crime and anti-social behaviour.
“Ally is a good news story – the conference will learn how the Kicks campaign has helped integrate him into the community and how football has increased his self confidence since moving from Somalia,” said Laura Wilson, Newcastle United Foundation Community Projects Co-ordinator.
“He’s fantastic, he comes across very well and is a real role model for people coming to this country.
“Ally has a bright future ahead of him with hopes to go to university to study electrical engineering which shows that he’s broadened his horizons to look beyond sport and give himself as many career options as possible.”
Ally said: “Working with the Newcastle United Foundation has helped me a lot.
“My speech will explain how it all started, when I came here, making friends and playing football.
“I feel privileged to be speaking to these people. When I first came to Newcastle, I was shy and would never have done this. The Newcastle United Foundation has made me more confident and given me the chance to travel and go to different cities through football.”