Emmanuel had always had an interest in football and played it from a young age. Despite his situation, he never gave up on his ambition to play football, and trials for Luton Town FC were the thing which helped him to stay focused on his goal:

“I realised that I couldn’t let problems like my housing situation get in the way of my goal – I had something to strive for.”

His determination resulted in a contract with Luton Town FC where he is currently on loan from to Welling United.

But then Emmanuel suffered a tendon injury to his knee and worried that his future in football was over.

When someone suggested he take part in the Get Started with Football programme at Crystal Palace and gain a coaching qualification, he was unsure whether it was the right step for him. He felt that he might not be able to handle seeing others play while he just coached, but he decided to give it a try. During the programme, Emmanuel discovered that he really enjoyed coaching:

My whole attitude changed. I found that I really enjoyed it. When I was young I didn’t have anyone to push me with my football, so me doing that for someone else and making them happy was a blessing to me. I love coaching now, it’s like second nature.

As soon as the programme finished and he got his coaching badge he got in touch with Crystal Palace and signed up for volunteer coaching.

Over the next three months Emmanuel continued with the volunteer coaching at Crystal Palace. He not only saw the benefits in the children he was coaching but also in his own skills and abilities as a football player. During his time as a volunteer coach Emmanuel received some positive feedback about his coaching skills and was offered a paid contract as a football coach with Crystal Palace FC Foundation.

Emmanuel is now a part time coach at the Club’s Foundation working at local schools.  He says;

I am growing while they are learning and it feels like I am giving the young people a role model and someone to push them, which is something that I never had when I was a kid.

Emmanuel is now living in his own flat - combining playing and coaching provides his income. He has managed to make his passion into his living, and he is pleased to be inspiring the younger generation. He is now is back from injury and fit for the season.