United & Me: Foundation student Fayyaz shares his story

Thursday 10 August 2023 12:05

Fayyaz has overcome a language barrier and the difficulties of getting used to life in a new country to make the most of every opportunity that has come his way through Manchester United Foundation.

A student on the Foundation’s BTEC in Sport programme, delivered in collaboration with Eccles Sixth Form College, Fayyaz is a self-proclaimed ‘positive-minded person’.

However, that way of thinking hasn’t come without Fayyaz developing such determination and resilience along the way, through the challenges he has faced.

United & Me: Fayyaz's story Video

United & Me: Fayyaz's story

United & Me | Fayyaz explains how Manchester United Foundation helped him on his coaching journey...

Fayyaz was born in Iran and it wasn’t until he was 13 that he moved to Manchester with his mum and sister, a year on from his dad emigrating.

He arrived in Manchester unable to speak English and, naturally, it took time for him to be able to communicate effectively with classmates.

“It was really difficult at the start,” Fayyaz, now 20, recalled of first arriving in Manchester. “When I came here, I couldn’t even say, ‘Hello’, and finding friends was difficult.

“I put a lot of hard work into learning English. Most of my learning was through me trying to do things myself and communicating with people.

“I had a little book, where I wrote the Iranian language on one side, how to pronounce it in the middle, and the word in English on the other side. It took me about two years to learn it all and start speaking to my friends.”

Fayyaz’s improving English coincided with him starting to think about his next steps after school. He met Ciaran, the Foundation's education and employability manager, at an open evening at Eccles Sixth Form College, where he enrolled on our college programme.

As Ciaran explained, Fayyaz has been able to develop his confidence and his skills, during his time on the college programme.

“Fayyaz has always been willing to try and to engage with other people,” said Ciaran. “He is always nice, always polite, but also really keen to get involved. From day one, he has always been the first to throw himself in to any opportunity he gets.

“His work-rate, enthusiasm and personality are infectious, and those qualities rub off on others around him. He will fly in any career path he chooses to follow.”

Fayyaz and the Foundation's Education and Employability Manager, Ciaran

Fayyaz has studied multiple sporting disciplines on his BTEC course, represented Manchester United in football matches against teams from other colleges, and accessed a wealth of work and voluntary opportunities.

“I’ve enjoyed everything about the programme,” continued Fayyaz. “I always like to try to do everything, understand and do my work perfectly, and play my football. I love doing everything that involves football – playing and especially coaching.”

Fayyaz works in matchday hospitality at Old Trafford as a waiter, where he has also had access to complimentary match tickets and had the opportunity to play and coach on the pitch at the Theatre of Dreams.

"I would love to work for United to give it all back. Working and volunteering at Old Trafford is amazing."

Moreover, the youngster has got up close and personal to past and present stars of the Reds, including being coached by former players, Jaap Stam and Juan Mata.

“The number of opportunities I’ve had through college is unbelievable. I have a lot of respect for United.

“Meeting great players and them coaching you how to play football, how to press, where to pass, things like that – it was a dream come true and I couldn’t believe it.”

Fayyaz is working towards gaining his FA Introduction to Coaching Football qualification with the Foundation.

Alongside his studies, Fayyaz has completed an additional nine qualifications while enrolled on the college programme – from safeguarding and first aid, talent identification, refereeing and, of course, coaching; a career path he is now pursuing, with the support of his tutors.

“The coaches I’ve worked with for a couple of years are people who have helped me a lot, pushing me through tough times. That’s helping me a lot to keep going, and get closer to the main goal of becoming a coach.

“I would love to work for United to give it all back. I’ve been given a lot of opportunities, so I would love to repay that somehow, because the volunteering and working at Old Trafford, it’s been amazing.”