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TE/OL, South London Renegades, GB National Team: London, England

“This grant award will keep me in the game not only financially, but also will continue to motivate me in playing the game and help me encourage other women out there to play as well. I am very grateful for this award.”

Keep Paris in the Game: Her Story

“I’ve made it one of my main focuses in life to make sure that girls and women never have to feel like they can't play a ‘male-dominated sport’ or any sport because people told them that it’s not for our gender or because we don’t look like the typical person that plays."

As an adventurous child, Paris always competed in sports growing up. After starting her football career in South London on an all-boys team at the age of fifteen, Paris worked her way to earning a spot on the Great Britain National team. With no opportunity for girls-only football in her neighborhood at the time, Paris was welcomed into a South London Renegades squad who made her feel comfortable and included. “I like their work ethic and I love how they’ve never made me feel excluded or never made me feel like less of a person or player on an all-male team.” Football felt like second-nature to Paris from the very beginning of her career. Each moment on the field for Paris gets better and she finds a new favorite part to love about the game.

Paris has overcome many obstacles within her life and career. She has faced comments on her physical ability through the years, doubters telling her that she can’t play American football because it’s a ‘male-dominated’ sport or that a girl shouldn’t be playing sports. Paris chose to challenge them by competing with and against guys as the only girl on the team.

One challenge she is still tackling through her community work is breaking gender barriers within youth sports in London. A pioneer in the sport of American Football in Great Britain, Paris cherishes the opportunity to coach young people in her community and advocate for girls in sport.

A highlight of her career so far was being selected into the Great Britain Women's American Football European Competition squad for the 2023 season. Not only did Paris get in, but two other young women who she introduced to football made the team as well.  

Through being introduced to American Football and teammates and coaching staff she can confide in, Paris’s mental health and perseverance have improved drastically. "The biggest lessons I've learned by being an athlete are definitely being patient and also challenging the process. In order to excel as an athlete, you have to believe in yourself and push yourself, no matter how hard or difficult it gets. Someone is always going to be better at some things you may struggle with but I learnt that you can either keep struggling and not get better or you can take it as a challenge and challenge the process.”

Photos: Max Burchill
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