A former sport student from North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College (NWSLC) who played for the Aston Villa FC Academy is now working to promote the outreach work of Coventry City FC through its Sky Blues in the Community charity.
Sami Ryder from Nuneaton completed her course in sport and exercise science at NWSLC’s Nuneaton Campus and a fitness instructor qualification before starting her career the Everyone Active gym at The Pingles Leisure Centre in Nuneaton.
A keen amateur football player since childhood, Sami was scouted by the Aston Villa Centre of Excellence Academy while she was playing for the Nuneaton Predators Girls’ team. During the five years Sami played for the Aston Villa FC Academy, the team remained unbeaten and were widely accepted to be the leading girls’ team in the country. Sami moved on to play with West Bromwich Albion LFC and later, Coventry City LFC in the Women’s Premiership.
Sami had always wanted to be a TV presenter and enjoyed devising, creating, and editing video content for the Everyone Active social media channels and was filmed leading home workout sessions and promotional fitness class videos.
Sami joined Nuneaton & Bedworth Borough Council working within the marketing and communications team alongside a graphic designer from whom she gained more creative skills and knowledge as she led campaigns to promote Nuneaton town centre and North Warwickshire leisure centres.
Having learned an enormous amount at the council, Sami moved on to secure a job as marketing and communications officer for the Coventry City FC Sky Blues in the Community charity which supports a range of initiatives in sport, health, education, and inclusion.
Sami said, “I always loved playing football and I really enjoyed my time with Aston Villa, West Brom and Coventry City. I realised that I couldn’t maintain the time commitment and I needed to find a job that would enable me to pay the bills, so I had to step away from playing full-time.
“I found that the skills I had developed in college led me into fitness instructing, which enabled me to develop my marketing and promotional skills, and now I have come full circle and I am based at Coventry City FC again in a different capacity. When I got the job here working with the Sky Blues in the Community team, it was just like coming home because of my previous experience as a player.”
Sami supports projects including football coaching, PE lessons for schools, reading with the Premier League Primary Stars programme, Turn 2 Us project – tackling holiday hunger across the city, Every Player Counts disability specific sessions, Macmillan Walking Football for people who have been diagnosed with cancer, and helping to collect and deliver donations for local Food Banks during lockdown.
Sami’s career continues to feed her passion for the media, and she has been able to work behind the scenes at pre- and post-match interviews.
Sami added, “I really enjoyed my time at college and the qualifications I gained there led directly to me securing employment in the sport and leisure industry. It is not possible for everyone to earn a living by playing football but there are hundreds of related jobs in the sector that keep you close to the game. I really enjoy my job at Coventry City FC with Sky Blues in the Community and can see my long-term future here with plenty of opportunities to learn more skills and progress.”
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