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interview with a...part one

We're excited to be kicking off our first 'Interview With A...' series!

Every other week we will be interviewing a special guest, talking about a specific topic to help our players and share experiences.


We're kicking off the series with Grace Arnell, a 2020 Scholar Graduate from M.R.F.A.'s Scholarship Programme.


"I started Helena Romanes Sixth Form in 2019, studying BTEC Sport and A-Level Geography, along with taking part in the M.R.F.A. Scholarship Programme. At the time I also played for Bishop's Stortford FC, mainly playing in goal.


When I first started the programme, I was really nervous but the coaches were really welcoming and always pushed me to do my best.


Once I had started Sixth Form, the scholars trained up to 3 times a week, unfortunately half-way through the year, Covid stopped the games from happening. However, I jumped at every chance to train and missed only a few training sessions over the whole 2 years.


Alongside my training, I also had 1-1 sessions with former-M.R.F.A. Goalkeeping Coach, Luke O'Reilly, who is now a Youth Development Phase goalkeeper coach at Manchester United. The goalkeeping skills and knowledge I learnt helped me to improve my performance massively.


Through my scholarship, I also started my coaching journey, another opportunity that I was offered from Head Coach, Michael, that I jumped at. I began helping out at Dunmow Development Centre and also with the Girls Development Centre. Michael then offered for me to complete my FA Level 1 Football Coaching qualification, while coaching for M.R.F.A.


I completed this, learning so much about football and fuelled my passion for coaching and teaching.


I continued to train and coach when I could. When lockdowns were eased I continued to work as hard as I could. I started to see a big impact in my skills and ability when playing football and became keen on getting out of goal. The skills I was learning through training apart of the programme shone through when I was playing for Bishop's Stortford. I became much more confident in myself and my ability due to the coaches' continuous encouragement.


I believe the opportunities I was given as a Scholar has got me to where and who I am today.


I finished Sixth Form with a Double Distinction Star in BTEC Sport.


Fast forward to now, I am currently working at M.R.F.A. while studying Sports Coaching and Physical Education at Anglian Ruskin University.


Over the 2 years that I was apart of the scholarship programme, I learnt to always work as hard as I can and to not worry about what others think about me.


I hope that anyone that is looking to be apart of the M.R.F.A. scholarship in the future, work as hard as they can to get the absolute most out of a brilliant experience that could give them opportunities that set them up for their future."


Thank you for sharing, Grace! We loved teaching you and now having onboard in our team too, delivering excellent coaching and support across the business!


Read more about our Scholarship Programme here 👉🏼


Look out for our next interview where we chat to a National League professional footballer about all things YOGA and why it's a must for young players! 👀🙏




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