UEFA Women's EURO England 2022

Volunteering Stories - Why You Should Apply To Volunteer at UEFA Women's EURO 2022

We caught up with several individuals who have volunteered at many major sporting events, including EURO2020 and why they love to volunteer!

Thursday 23 Sep 2021
Volunteer Stories


Tell us about yourself…

Hello, my name is Afzal. I am an Information Department Manager with a working background in the Petrochemical industry for the last 30 years. 

I would describe myself as someone who likes to embrace life to the fullest.  I love to travel, go to the theatre, experience different cuisines, and spend quality time with friends and loved ones.   

Outside of work, I have a passion to volunteer in different and varying capacities.  From The Olympics, Commonwealth Games, Rugby and Cricket World Cup competitions to the recent UEFA EURO 2020 tournament, I am focused on making a positive impact at every event and determined to make a valuable contribution to society.  

Why did you start volunteering? 

It is an adventure which can lead to many opportunities.   

My volunteering journey started in 1999, when I became involved in football.  Over a 12-year period, I coached teams for 5 aside matches, managed a local football team, and organised numerous games in leagues and tournaments.  I wanted to give back to the community by offering everyone the opportunity to take part in a sport they loved.   

In 2012, I volunteered at the London Olympics, which was my first volunteering experience at a major UK event. As a London resident and a huge sports fan, I wanted to be involved to give a warm welcome to the plethora of visitors visiting our city.   

The Olympic experience gave me such a buzz that I decided I wanted more, so I applied to become a volunteer at several other sports events soon after.  

The opportunities to serve with fellow volunteers, the organisers, and the spectators, makes you feel you are part of something extraordinary. 


What have you enjoyed about volunteering? 

It has allowed me to take on new responsibilities and find out my own strengths and capabilities.  The experiences have challenged me in areas where I didn't feel I had the confidence to succeed.  It has also allowed me to learn new concepts which are now being applied to smaller events within my local community. I’ve even been able to set up a homeless charity using the skills I've learned from my volunteering experiences. My volunteering journey has been amazing and there is no measurement on the joy and fulfilment I have gained.  

Any special moments in volunteering you remember?

One special moment for me was my first shift at the 2012 Olympic Games. I remember our Team Leader telling us that this was his fifth Olympics.  I was in awe of him and dreamt of achieving the same one day. Eventually it happened! During the Rugby World Cup I was promoted to be a Team Leader. It gave me such a confidence boost to lead a team of volunteers and helped me believe in myself and my capabilities.  I have lived the volunteering dream beyond my expectations and look forward to many more.   

Would you want to volunteer for another sports tournament? If so, why?

I am a great fan of Women's football I am excited to see the rise and popularity of the game and the heights it has reached.  The UEFA Women's EURO 2022 is on the horizon and I am thrilled it is hosted in the UK and an event I can’t wait to apply to be a part of. 


Tell us about yourself…

Hi, my name is Maria. I've always loved football and sports in general. I work in the sports industry, focussing on sports development and coaching. I like variety so I don't really have a typical day. However, I enjoy learning, so I am always completing a course or trying something new to increase my knowledge and understanding to better support my players and colleague’s development. A typical week would also involve coaching, and some project management. I have quite a hectic lifestyle, but I try to keep in touch with people too, so I might message a friend I've not spoken to in a while. 

Why did you start volunteering? 
I wanted to try something different and understand more about my career options. It’s great that I can do that through volunteering which means I can also make a positive difference to people's lives at the same time.

What have you enjoyed about volunteering?
I have been able to volunteer in different roles and meet people of various ages and backgrounds who have a shared passion for volunteering and/or football. It has enabled me to experience new situations and further develop my skills such as communication and problem solving.

Any special moments in volunteering you remember?
One of the first events I volunteered at was the UEFA Champions League Final in 2011. I felt fortunate to be in the Wembley area, volunteering on the day and being able to experience the build-up to the game. 

A favourite football memory?
Attending the Women's FA Cup Final for the first time a few years ago. The opportunity to watch the players live, rather than on TV was great. And afterwards they came over to thank the crowd and sign some autographs and take photos. It was just a great friendly atmosphere overall. 

Would you want to volunteer for another sports tournament? If so, why?
Yes, because it is an enjoyable and unique experience, an opportunity to contribute towards the success of the tournament, but also a chance to continue learning and developing my skills and experience. Every tournament is different, and I do find I have learned something whenever I have volunteered, whether it is learning more about the sports industry or hearing about a job role I didn't even know existed. 


Tell us about yourself...
Hi I’m Maxine, Oxfordshire born and bred.

I’ve worked in HR for 23 years (because I love people and am slightly nosey!). I recruit doctors for the Thames Valley region and feel very comfortable working in football stadiums as it is a little-known fact that in pre-COVID times interviews for doctors in training took place in the executive boxes at football stadiums. I would often be found wondering the halls of the Kassam Stadium [Home of Oxford United Football Club] (not as glamourous as Wembley but it is my home stadium and I love it).

My passions are swimming (I am no Adam Peaty though), Disney and reading!  

Why did you start volunteering?
I first started volunteering at my niece’s Rainbows group and it snowballed from there really. Once you start volunteering, it becomes addictive as you can see the good you are doing and how you are helping others. Even my niece caught the “volunteering bug”. We both volunteered at the Oxford Marathon and soon after she began volunteering with the Brownies.

What have you enjoyed about volunteering?
The thing I love most about volunteering is the friends that you make along the way. They are lifelong friends who I often describe as my volunteer family. We all share the same goal in wanting to help others and ensure that at every event you volunteer at; you want it to be delivered successfully.

Volunteers are part of one big family that will welcome you with open arms and warm hearts and you are sure to have some laughs along the way!

Volunteering has also given me the opportunity to travel and see and explore new places and cultures. I volunteered at the European Championships in Glasgow and was introduced to Irn Bru and explored the beautiful city of Glasgow.

Any special moments in volunteering you remember?

I was given the opportunity of a lifetime to help UEFA EURO 2020 practice the ceremony presentation for the final. I got the chance to play the role of the UEFA Ambassador and walk out on to the Wembley pitch pretending to hold the Cup on the winner’s podium. It is every child’s dream to walk out on to the pitch as either a footballer or a pop star and it was only through volunteering that I got this lifetime opportunity to do that. It is a memory that I will carry with me for the rest of my life and I am not ashamed to say that I had a few tears that night as I was so grateful to be given that opportunity. Although I would like to say if Gareth Southgate or Simon Cowell want to talent spot me, I am ready and waiting!

Would you want to volunteer for another sports tournament? If so, why?
I love volunteering at sporting events as it is great to think that I am representing my country through volunteering. I would hope that if I was lucky enough to be picked to volunteer at the UEFA Women’s EURO 2022, I could once again represent my country but also raise the profile of women’s football to a global audience.

If you are thinking about applying to volunteer, please do. You could find that you will make friends, learn new skills but most importantly you will be welcomed into the volunteering family forever. 



Tell us about yourself…
Hey, I’m Alex! I’ve recently graduated from university where I studied Football Business & Marketing, and have just joined a Commercial, Product and Marketing Graduate Scheme.

I think my friends would describe me as fun, happy and spontaneous! I try to go into every situation with 100% enthusiasm and always like to lift the mood wherever I am!

One of my passions is travelling. On my gap year I travelled across the USA from the West to East coast, I went to South Africa to volunteer in local schools and on a game reserve, as well as exploring some European countries too!

Most of my free time is spent watching football. I’m season ticket holder and go to as many games as I can. I won’t give away who I support but we have suffered a few tougher years recently, so hoping for some success this season.

Why did you start volunteering?
My first volunteer experience was abroad in my gap year. I really loved seeing other people happy and found it super rewarding knowing that my time and effort was appreciated. A few years later, my university were given a talk about the possibility to volunteer at UEFA EURO 2020. I knew it was a great opportunity to build new skills and gain experience on how an international sports event is organised from start to finish. I felt it would be something that would look great on my CV as I’d be able to learn transferable skills throughout the tournament. Luckily, I managed to secure a role! 

What have you enjoyed about volunteering?
I’d say that meeting new people was one of the most enjoyable parts.

If you’re thinking about volunteering and are worried that you won’t ‘fit in’… please DO NOT WORRY! I was nervous about it at the start but, seriously, no one was the same and it was great. There were volunteers from all age groups, from students to retirees. There were volunteers from all job backgrounds, from driving instructors to managers of big international companies, and retail workers to entrepreneurs. There were volunteers that didn’t even follow football and were just volunteering for the love of volunteering. I could go on and on…

As a result, it was genuinely enjoyable to be able to talk to and learn so much from my fellow volunteers. It was great to listen to funny stories about their past volunteer experiences as well as being able to connect with people I know I’m going to call on throughout my working career. Overall, it was an invaluable experience.

I’ve already met up with a few volunteers in recent months for drinks and meals (and will continue to do so!).

A favourite football memory?
Wow. This is a tough question to answer. There have already been so many throughout my life. I’d say travelling to Stockholm for a UEFA Europa League final with my dad was an incredible opportunity. The atmosphere was electric (before, during and after the game!). The locals were so friendly and made us feel very welcome. Of course, seeing my team lift the trophy was a nice bonus!

Would you want to volunteer for another sports tournament? If so, why?
Absolutely. In fact, I don’t know one person I’ve met whilst volunteering who would say no to this question. Seeing and being around over a thousand passionate and dedicated volunteers in one place was incredible. Every fellow volunteer was helpful, kind, and enthusiastic about being there! It truly is an amazing atmosphere (and the fans help with that too!).

Even though I’ve only volunteered at one sporting event, I know that I’d learn new skills and be performing different tasks at the next event, as there are so many varied opportunities. So, if this is the first sports event, or the 100th you’re thinking about applying to, I know you’ll have an amazing time!


By FA Staff