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Football's future in safe hands

Meet 12-year-old Cameron Connor who's having a big say on and off the pitch

Friday 28 Apr 2017

While the world’s eyes were on Wembley Stadium for The Emirates FA Cup semi-finals last weekend a 12-year-old, who could have a big future in the running of the game, was one of 170 people sharing his wisdom at St. George’s Park.

Despite his tender years, Cameron Connor is a Sheffield & District Junior League committee member and acts as an age group representative for U11-U12 players.

So highly thought of is Cameron that he was part of an exclusive list of delegates at SGP – the rest aged over 18 – to attend the National Youth Leagues Conference, where workshops centred on improving player environments were undertaken and senior figures from The FA gave addresses.

Such an agenda is nothing new for Cameron, who couples his time playing for local side Hillsborough Pumas, with listening to his peers and addressing their concerns.

Why he does so is simple: he is head over heels in love with football.

“I started playing when I was five years-old and after that, when I was eight or nine, I went on an FA Skills course for three years,” explains Cameron who, when he is not playing or attending committee meetings he makes the long trip north with dad Douglas to Ibrox to see their beloved Glasgow Rangers.

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“From there one of the coaches, Sally Needham, recommended me for the FA Youth Council because I was often expressing my views to her about different things we could be doing.

“I was too young for that though, so I moved on to join the Sheffield & District Junior League committee.

“Nathan Batchelor organises the committee meetings, we met just last week actually – ‘Cameron is treated as an equal to everyone else in the room,’ his dad chips in.

“I talk to my team-mates at the Pumas and other players in the league, as I go to school with most of them.

“Sometimes people are disgruntled when matches don’t go ahead at the last minute and it was safe to do so, for example, or if cup matches have been scheduled during half-term weeks when people are going on holiday.

“I try and see if these issues can be resolved so that all anyone else has to concentrate on is enjoying playing football.”

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Time will tell whether Cameron becomes a household name on the pitch or off it.

What’s certain though, is his desire to make a difference to the game is burning bright – just ask anyone who spent the weekend in his company at SGP.

“It was a great weekend at St. George’s Park,” Cameron added.

“It was good to get opinions from people that work with other leagues around the country and those that work at the very top in organising football matches.

“I was the youngest there and I think a few were surprised to see me, but some people know of me from other events I have been to.

“I really like the idea of having a career in football, being able to make a difference to give people more chances to play and to make the game even more enjoyable.

“I just love football.”

Click here to find out how you can get involved in football just like Cameron.

By Josh Richards Digital Producer