As the world cup heads into the quarter-final stages, we continue to highlight football across Surrey as we talk to Billy Man about how he got involved in football and how it has given him joy.
What is your football history?
I started playing football when I was a kid, joining friends on the school playground, during the lunch break. As we got older, people started to form positions on the pitch. I started off playing as a defender but wasn’t as good and eventually, someone asked me to go in goal. For some reason, I started to become good at it and seem to enjoy it and I have played in goal ever since.
What has football given you?
Football has given me fitness and most importantly joy. Playing against friends and good players - there is always lots of banter trying to outdo each other and admiration when pulling off a ‘worldie’ save.
What is your current role in football?
I'm currently an active goalkeeper playing at my local 5-a-side Goal Centre for several teams and helping the Centre fill in teams that need a goalkeeper. I’m also part of an 11 aside Sunday team (Chessington Sports United).
I have also helped organise an 8 a-side tournament, making sure the tournament ran smoothly and keeping track of all the scores.
How, why and when did you take this role?
I initially joined my local 5-a-side league with friends, but we soon disbanded. However, while playing there, I had a few teams asking me to help them out from time to time. Eventually, the Goals Centre asked me if they could take my number so they could call me if teams needed a goalkeeper. Over time, teams were impressed with my performance and asked me to join them on a regular basis.
With regards to helping to run the tournament, it is part of a Chinese Association that hold tournaments for the Chinese community. Being an Asian player, it is nice to help out and encourage players to get together and play more.
What has this role in football given you?
Filling in for a team on a regular basis allowed me to get to know more people and improve my skills and communication with different players. When I first started, I was a quiet player and didn't communicate that well, which made games harder. Learning from teammates about what makes it easier for them has allowed me to improve my skill as a goalkeeper.
It has also helped me relieve stress as playing football keeps my mind away from stress and gives me joy, especially when you win. Even when you lose, there is still a sense of fun as sometimes during games there are always funny moments.
Finally, who are you supporting in the World Cup?
Having been born and brought up in England, I will be supporting the Three Lions!
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