From the Grounds Up:
“Football has the power to unite people.”
Those are the words of Bobby Kasanga, the founder of Hackney Wick FC, a football club in London. And it’s a sentiment proved time and again in cities and communities all over the world: Football can make a difference.
But it doesn’t happen overnight. It happens because of people like Bobby, who spent years making his dream a reality. After being released from prison in 2015, Bobby wanted to change his life and his community, which had been marked by both gang violence and gentrification. So, he decided to found Hackney Wick FC, going door to door to raise money from the neighborhood. Nearly five years later, hundreds of people—men, women, and kids—have joined Hackney Wick FC.
In our new series, From the Grounds Up, we’ll profile people all over the world who know that they can change their communities and the world through football and sport.
Watch the first episode above, read more from the people of Hackney Wick FC below, and stay tuned for upcoming episodes on Paris Alesia FC and Melbourne’s Fitzroy Lions.
“It's like one big family, and you go off and we travel to away games together. I love it. Absolutely love it. Last season we played the FA Cup away, and we took 50 people down there. It was a great day. We lost, but it was still a great day.”
Pete “the Wickerman”
“The way Bobby has impacted Hackney alone is massive. He’s helped me get a job and helped a lot of other players with a lot of other opportunities to really do the best for ourselves.”
Coach and player
“Hackney Wick needs a team like this. There was children just hanging around the streets; there was a lot of fighting, no structure to the community. It’s brought the borough together.”