February marks LGBTQ+ History Month as well as Football vs Homophobia’s Month of Action so we are highlighting some of the amazing work that goes on in our grassroots community. Our next story celebrates the journey of coach, Cameron Scorer.
We spoke to one of our local coaches, Cameron Scorer, about his journey to becoming a coach, supporting the LGBTQ+ Community, the barriers and challenges he has faced, his sporting heroes and lots more!
The Journey So Far
“I have been in football since I was young, playing for my local team throughout my youth years. During my teens I completed the referee course, progressing to a level 5 and also completed my level 2 coaching course aged 18. I have spent time on league committees and experienced a wide variety of football roles. I progressed into playing open age football, but my real passion lied with coaching.”
“I spent time coaching a few youth teams from U13-U16's and then joined Chelmsford City's EJA set up where I spent 6 years. I have since coached at open age clubs such as Herongate Athletic and Springfield in the Olympian League Prem whilst currently doing the UEFA B qualification.”
“I was always intrigued by the detail of the game and when I was playing, I came up with my own ideas of what 'good football' meant to me. The idea of seeing those ideas being implemented is what drew me into becoming a coach. But for me, it was mostly the reward. As a coach, especially during a players' youth years, you can shape what their journey and relationship looks like with football.”
“I have always stuck to a value of mine that you're not just coaching football, you're coaching life skills as well. To see the development of a player and person from A to B whether they are young or more experienced is extremely rewarding. I love having a vision whether that be a playing philosophy or an individual player plan and seeing that come to life.”
Football’s Meaning & Heroes
“I have always loved football since I can remember, from watching the Premier League to being involved where I am now. Whilst some members of my wider family also love football, my parents were not big on football so it developed into something I loved for me and not forced upon me. Now, football plays an even bigger role in my life. I spend almost every day consumed by football whether it be coaching, playing, analysing, or watching. When I have nothing to do, I turn to football. Having made a number of friends from football and seeing players develop a great deal, it fills me with so much pride. Football has shaped a huge part of who I am and that's why I am adamant of making it accessible to all.”
Like anyone, I have admiration for the great players I watched whilst growing up such as Gareth Bale, Michael Owen, Lionel Messi. With my love for the coaching side, this grew to managers and those most successful such Sir Alex, Guardiola and Mourinho but closer to home I followed the rise and journey of the Cowley brothers and have full respect for their achievements.”
“However, growing up as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I didn't have any role models I could look up to here or be inspired by their journey, which is a big driver in why there needs to be change. I have so much respect for those who have shared their story such as Robbie Rogers, Jake Daniels, Josh Cavallo, and most recently, Jakub Jankto. It may be hard for non-LGBTQ+ members to relate to how much courage and bravery ‘coming out’ in the way they have done took. Whilst there are open LGBTQ+ members in other sports, I think it's important that football LGBTQ+ members can have a role model, support network or channel that they can go to and get relatable advice.”
Advice for Others
“There have been many barriers to overcome as a coach, most coaches will go through the same. I became a coach when I was young, so I have been in positions where I have coached players who are older and more experienced than me. I have to remind myself that my role as a coach is to get the best out of the player and not be the player; it's a different skill set. I have taken it upon myself to learn the game from a different perspective to players.”
“Equally, being a part of the LGBTQ+ community has always been a barrier due to the pre-conceptions it comes with within football. Whilst I have never personally been discriminated against, I know the many incidents of discrimination that have happened and still happen in the game. As a coach, and in a position of responsibility where you require the respect of your players, it's always been in the back of my mind "what if I wasn't accepted". Luckily, I have worked in supportive and open environments where this hasn't been a problem.”
“Unfortunately, we still see a number of incidents where there has been discrimination, prejudice or even hate crime. Supporting campaigns are great, however, creating an accepted culture is far more impactful. The most comfortable I have felt coaching was in an environment where everyone was aware that I am part of the LGBTQ+ community, however, no one talked to me or treated me any different as if I was heterosexual. It's not ignoring the issues, it can be a sensitive area to bring up a conversation which is why education is key to understand micro-aggressions, triggers and how to highlight issues.”
“Allies can speak up too. When there are incidents, they can support those affected by reporting incidents. If we can create a culture whereby it is normal to be accepted and not even thought of that someone has a different sexual preference, then this goes a long way to preventing incidents in the first place. My advice is to come forward, the more members and allies we have, the stronger impact we have on driving change.”
“Football is for everyone and there is an environment out there which will suit you. It might take you some time to find the right environment or even role so stick with it, even when things get tough. Do not be afraid to reach out for support and guidance too, sometimes taking the first step will be the hardest. There are also some specialist clubs around which are tailored to certain groups of individuals, these are a great way to integrate yourself in the sport. There are many involved in football whose role it is to ensure clubs are providing welcoming experiences such as club welfare officers - speak to them too and they'll likely be very accommodating.”
“My first ambition in football is coaching - I want to complete my UEFA B this year and then take my coaching career as far as I can go. I still have the opportunity to play too so I want to make the most of it.”
“On the inclusion front, I see a great opportunity to make our sport go even further. I'd love to be involved in any way I can whether it be supporting clubs to create environments that are inclusive, supporting individuals who might require advice or anything else where I can lend a hand. This isn't about changing what our sport is but allowing us to get better; diversity and different backgrounds can provide different opinions meaning more opportunity for results - such as, having a growth mindset. I love and will continue to love football and I hope to look back in 5-10 years' time with pride and see the positive changes we have made on inclusion.”
You can find out more about how you can support the Football vs Homophobia Campaign and download resources to promote inclusion HERE. Alternatively, the resources can be downloaded at the bottom of this story.
If you would like to get involved with coaching, please click HERE.
If you have any further questions around supporting the LGBTQ+ community, please reach out to our Equality and Inclusion Officer, Milly Morgan.