Keegan Hirst leads the discussion at the Aon Training Complex.

Academy youngsters attend 'Being Yourself in Sport' workshop

Wednesday 04 December 2019 09:59

Manchester United’s Academy players have taken part in a ‘Being Yourself in Sport’ workshop, which explored the topics of identity, stereotypes and societal pressures.

The workshop was led by Keegan Hirst, a 31-year-old professional sportsman who, in 2015, became the first openly gay rugby league player in Britain.

Hirst detailed his journey and focused on the ways in which his honesty towards his identity helped him both professionally and personally.

Halifax prop Hirst talks to the United Academy youngsters.
Ian Smithson, United’s Academy education manager said: “It was a pleasure to welcome Keegan Hirst to the Academy and for the boys to hear his story on challenging stereotypes. The link to work with Keegan came from Andy Jordan, our development player-care assistant, who coached Keegan in the semi-professional rugby league.

“The workshop was part of our Personal Development Programme, organised by another member of the player-care department, Chris McCready, which aims to support and develop our players’ understanding of identity and self-awareness.

“Across the Academy we undertake a number of initiatives to promote inclusion, both on and off the pitch, and we are extremely grateful to Keegan for sharing his story with us.”

Keegan Hirst, said: “It was great to work with Manchester United to give their Academy players the opportunity to partake in the workshop.

"I hope that hearing my experiences will have highlighted the importance of life away from sport and also helped them to express their personalities both professionally and personally.”

Some of United's Under-18s squad listen to Keegan Hirst's story.
Manchester United is supporting Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign as part of #allredallequal, as the club continues to celebrate LGBT+ inclusion and make it clear that football is for everyone.

At our home fixture against Tottenham Hotspur this evening (Wednesday), the club will showcase its wide-ranging work to support and celebrate LGBT+ communities, showing there is no place for discrimination and demonstrating the power football has to bring people together.

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