I was fortunate enough to live my dream. During my career I represented Wales 73 times and scored 28 goals for my national team. In my role as Elite Performance Director for the Welsh Football Trust, I see firsthand the difference that football makes. Launching this campaign is a chance for me to give something back to those who need it most.
As one of ten children growing up in working class Flintshire, I borrowed my boots from my older brother and my father would take me to training sessions on the bus. My passion for the game and the devoted family support I was lucky enough to receive helped motivate me. As my career developed I had to take criticism and recognise my weaknesses. I had to believe in myself, be part of a team, share responsibilities and push myself out of my comfort zone.
As a father myself, I know the impact that football has on my sons. It keeps them spirited, healthy and passionate; it gives them a release from their academic studies. I can’t imagine not having football in my life. It’s simply who I am.
I have enjoyed football at its best and want to focus on giving every child in Wales the chance to have the same support that I had, which is why I’ve chosen to lead this campaign. It’s so sad that there are children living in Wales today who don’t get the chance to play and instead simply watch from the sidelines.
My aim is to build a team of Ambassadors who will help me achieve my dream by promoting the campaign and developing support and I’m thrilled that Ryan Giggs, John Hartson and Gary Speed have already signed up to help. Through the good work and structure of the Welsh Football Trust I believe that this campaign can change lives.
I welcome your support to help make this campaign succeed.
Ian Rush MBE