Sophie Blagg wearing a red Goalball UK jacket whilst goal judging, listening in on Birmingham time out tactics.

Sophie joins the #GoalballFamily, and the Goalball UK team as part of her 10-week second-year university placement. As Sophie settles into her role, we caught up to find out more about her:

So Sophie, can you give us a bit of a background on where you are studying?

I am a second-year student from Sheffield Hallam University studying Sports Development with Coaching.

To those of us who may not know, what is your role whilst you’re with the Goalball UK team?

My role is to have a taste of everything from where it starts, get to know the staff’s different roles to be involved in recruiting new and maintaining relationships with activators to support our 2021/2022 Competition Structure. So far, I have also supported the rebranding of Activator’s materials to get more people involved and volunteer.

Group picture of players in a charity football match, on what appears to be a nice summer evening with blue sky and some cloud behind.

What brought you to apply for the placement and get experience in goalball?

Firstly, I’m not certain on my career path following graduating from university so an opportunity to gain experience in a field I was not familiar with sounded great! Nevertheless, something I am passionate about is making a difference in as many people’s lives as possible through sport. I was searching for opportunities on a social media platform called Handshake, and I came across goalball, I was intrigued straight away to find out more! Jude Langdon, one of my lecturers put me in touch with former Sheffield Hallam student and now Goalball UK member of staff Alex Cockerham and we spoke via Zoom before I applied for this placement, that little chat helped me find out more about the sport and the goalball family.

Group picture of a college water sports day with everyone wearing wetsuits on a wooden pier.

What roles have you undertaken before joining Goalball UK?

As part of my university course, I completed a Level 2 Multi-Sports Qualification which has opened up opportunities for me to get experience in sports coaching. I briefly ran dodgeball sessions at St Giles School, Croydon where I learnt a lot about myself as a coach, mainly how to be resilient if a session does not go the way you hoped! My passion remains the same in life to make a difference to people no matter what ability.

What have you thought about your role so far, is there anything you are looking forward to?

When I started my placement a few weeks ago, the first competition I attended was Matchday 2 of the Super League, which is the highest level of goalball in the UK! After the first few matches as I got to grips with the various table official roles, I quickly understood what goalball is all about.

I had different views of the paralympic sport within one whole day – I saw it from the goal line judge to focus on just one team for the 10-second timer to then watching a whole game from behind the goal. I’m excited to learn more about goalball, including the different roles each staff member has as well as getting in touch with organising, communicating, and finding goalball activators to help officiate for upcoming matchdays and competitions. I am also excited to find out how goalball is adapted in different environments, such as schools and education.

All in all, I am excited for what lies ahead throughout my placement and to work with as many people as possible such as Goalball UK staff, players, coaches, officials, activators, everyone!

Selfie with four people in view on a sunny day all smiling!

Welcome once again Sophie to the #GoalballFamily!