No doubt for Pam that sport was a very early passion and something she thrived at; they were, however, very different times and football wasn’t as easy for a female to be accepted in.
“[The passion for] women and girls football girls came from the struggles I had when I was younger, and it has always stuck in my head that it wasn’t always the best experience for me.
“From being told I can train with boys but not play competitively and trying to setup a girls’ team at school but the answer always being no, it’s always been in the back of my mind.
“We’ve come a long way, but we’ve still got a long way to go and I wouldn’t want anyone to go through what I had to at times.”
Pam says she had “always hoped” sport would be her profession and tells us that even a considered route into teaching would have been Physical Education!
Into her early twenties and still competing in taekwondo, she achieved a Sports Science degree and picked up Level 1 qualifications in football, basketball, hockey and cricket. Although she does comment: “I wouldn’t come to any of my cricket sessions to be honest!”
There was only going to be one pathway for Pam from here and her first coaching role within football was where she really found here niche and went on to achieve her FA Level 2 qualification.
“My first role within football coaching was with Albion in the Community (AITC) where I was coaching their soccer schools and stuff like that.
“I then got involved with disability football with AITC alongside Teresa Sanders and Nikki Richardson who asked to see if I would give it a go.
“It was disability then that I kind of went with but when I left University, I did some grassroots stuff with Whitehawk and Worthing Town where I coached the likes of Harrison Reed who now plays for Fulham and also Toby Bull, a youth goalkeeper at Brighton.”
As well as the obvious passion for women and girls’ football, it was at this point that disability football became close to her heart. She does however relay that her biggest desire in coaching is simply helping and developing people.
“Whether it’s players or coaches that’s where my passion lies. It’s about making people the best versions of themselves and that really is it.
“In football in particular I’ve seen people try and help someone and make them their best versions of themselves but that’s not what it’s about. It’s about what they’re good at and what do they enjoy and how we can help them.”
Disability football really took off for Pam from a coaching perspective and insists she is still educating herself even now and doesn’t underestimate the challenges.
“I’ve been involved with disability football for around fifteen years and I’m still learning, but the biggest thing I’ve learnt is to just be open and speak to the players, and the parents, because no one knows their disability and experiences better than them.
“You’re constantly adapting and it’s not as simple as just reading a book or going on a course, you’ve just got to keep listening especially as there are a lot of hidden disabilities and people that from the outside, look perfectly well, but they’re not.
“These are people that have experienced discrimination which creates enormous anxiety, so you also have to manage that as well as the disability.
“Most of the Sussex County FA Disability Representative Squad for example, will have tried to play mainstream, like a pub side or something like that, but it’s whether they can cope with that long term.
“You’re never an expert, there’s always room to learn more and adapt more and I’m always trying to communicate with the players and the coaching staff.”
As part of her work in disability football, she has coached notable names such as Martin Sinclair, Josh Beecham, Billy Thompson, Sam Whatley and Richard Fox who have represented England and/or GB Cerebral Palsy team.