Football has an incredible ability to bring people together – and perhaps no club illustrates this better than Angels United FC.
A very different kind of football team, Angels United were originally formed by a group of fathers – all of whom had suffered the devastating loss of a child.
By getting together, they realised they could all “play the beautiful game that they love 90 minutes…and thrive in that environment”.
A club rep explains: “When we take to the pitch we support each other and it gives the opportunity to represent our Angels on the pitch.”
This special sports team is expanding, too – becoming a support system for entire families.
According to club representatives, Angels United have widened their focus because “it isn’t just fathers who are affected: It’s mothers, brothers, sisters who also experience grief”.
Their new mission is to help anyone who has suffered heartbreaking bereavement – making sure that mums and partners of players are involved with all the decisions that need to be made in relation to the club.
Angels United are still very in the early stages, having only played their first game in October 2020.
They’re also still on the lookout for a permanent home; seeking support from local businesses to act as sponsors.
But what the club lacks in experience, it makes up for in ambition – with some very big plans for the future.
Going forward, Angels United are hoping to bring in a mental health professional or counsellor – who will work alongside players and families.
They’re also aiming to become a registered charity; raising awareness about what people go through after suffering a child bereavement.
“There are words such as ‘widow’ for someone who has lost their husband, [but] as far as we are concerned there is no word to describe someone who has lost their child,” Angels United reps explained.
“We call them family and [we] want to be that shining light and safety net for families who reach to us.”