This Is Local London: Pioneering in Football

The football industry is one that is of great importance to the United Kingdom, bringing people together and enforcing a sense of patriotism and team spirit. It bands people together, children, adults, and communities worldwide. A truly inspiring figure that I believe should be recognised is Esther Elias, receiving her FA Level 1 certificate, and starting her own foundation at the age of 16, powering through the many hardships in her life. 


 Her journey in football began in primary school in Year 6, as her P.E. teacher was a former football player, Anthony Potts. Her spark in football that started in her lessons led her to join the school’s football club in Year 6 also, playing games regularly on Thursdays. Later, she was approached by a local Grassroots coach, and was invited there where her coaching journey kicked off. “My biggest role models would be Tyra Mills and Deborah Nelson, two people in the football industry who I respect and look up to.”


In July 2021, she had a correctional operation on her shin, an eight month recovery time, as well as being in the wheelchair from four to six months. With this time, she was able to do her coaching registrations, safeguarding courses, as well as figure out what she wanted in her future. “Growing up playing football, I couldn’t afford to pay for my grassroots clubs, and it was because I had a good relationship with my coach that allowed me to continue playing. Having such good coaches that invested in me and believed in my potential has made me who I am today and is part of the reason I am a coach.” At times it was difficult for away games, since her parents didn’t drive but she built a community within her team, which was able to help her through. She felt it was her responsibility to stay educated, as well as to educate the people around her.


“From quite a young age, about Year 10 or 11, I really wanted something for myself to give back to the community, because I’m very big on leaving a legacy, so I felt that [coaching] was a great way to create a legacy.” 


In the summer of 2022, she went to a leadership programme called FALA (FA Leadership Academy, the project being to deliver a 12 month programme, making a change in the community, inspiring her to help other young black girls in football. Her hopes for the future of her foundation are: “I want it to build, I want to get more girls engaged, I want to give girls that platform and be able to influence just one or two girls.” 


Her foundation, EOE (Effort Over Environment) aims to give young black girls an opportunity to showcase themselves and give them a platform of appreciation within the game of football, reminding girls that they can achieve great things despite any circumstance.

For herself, she wants to be able to continue to build a strong community around her, and her future goals are to “coach in the Premier League as a female coach in a men’s game” one day.