Raider in the Spotlight – Mary Pacitti

Each month we  highlight the contribution of a member of the Raiders team that works behind the scenes to ensure the club continues to offer fantastic coaching and playing opportunities in the community.

This month we interviewed Mary Pacitti to get a better understanding of her role within the club.

Mary Pacitti Herts FA Award WinnerMary has been a passionate and vocal developer of Girls football within Raiders and has been instrumental in building it to what is today. Mary was also recently recognised for her dedication and hard work by the Herts FA at their Grassroots Football Awards 2019 where she was crowned ‘Volunteer of the Year’. A fantastic and thoroughly deserved recognition for all her hard work.

Q1. What do you do within Raiders?

So far I have tried (and enjoyed) Club Welfare, reffing, managing and being  AGC for the U11 girls. I am currently involved in developing our Girls football provision.
Outside of Raiders I am helping Middlesex FA to run FA youth futsal cup qualifiers in December and now head up Escolla Girls. Our U8 girls upwards are coached by experienced coaches of which some are England national futsal players and some have coached senior teams to victory in the NFL. The girls get the best quality coaching and  this shows on the futsal pitch and, very happily – on Raiders football pitches. We have 44 girls at U11 loving Raiders and playing some lovely football.

Q2. How long have you been involved?

I started in 2015 as a match day delegate in my son’s U10 team – and was inspired by Sarah Whale to be more involved.  I became Club Welfare Officer in 2015/16 season  and so a mission started as Sarah and I realised that the club needed more female role models such as referees and managers.

Q3. What do you most enjoy about your involvement with Raiders?

When my daughters joined as spectators on the 2015 tour to Bournemouth, then Minehead, I knew I wanted for them what the boys got from Raiders: football, touring,  friendship, fitness fun, team spirit ( and games led by Ben Painter !) – the normal Raiders stuff.

Q4. Most embarrassing moment in Raiders?

Forgetting my reg cards and corner flags the first day I managed a team ( due to nerves ).

Q5. What does the future hold for Raiders?

The tour is a hugely important change for us – from no girls in 2015 this year is looking amazing – with possibly 2 teams at U11 matching the male participation as well as girls at U8, U9 U10 and U12 , 13 and 14- great progress and of course great fun. I think we each have short time to make an impact at Raiders as our children pass through and when my kids leave I want ‘girls playing football’ to be a totally normal path for girls in Berkhamsted. I’d like to see numbers up allowing streaming so we can accommodate all levels of ability and experience equally well. The future holds more progress and one day we will have equal numbers of boys and girls!

Q6. Proudest moment(s)?

Three notable events: When my daughter Mel was in the first English girls team to take part in the Gothia cup in Sweden ( along with Jamie Johnson and Iona M from Raiders U12 ).

When many Raiders girls joined the first female English team at the 25 year old Costa Blanca Futsal Cup in Spain this year. We also took 5 Raiders girls and some of our friends from Oaklands and Kings Langley to win the U10 section in the local Watford Ladies tournament – thank you Marianne G, Mel P, Izzy R, Sunny D, Izzy H from Raiders and our friends Holly T, Olivia and Sophie B.

Becoming Herts FA volunteer of the year capped it all and I’d like to give a huge thanks to the brilliant people at Herts FA for their kindness and amazing support.

Q7. Favourite football team

Chelsea

Q8 Favourite football player (past or present)?

Mel Pacitti U11 and Michael Pacitti U14 (equally of course!)

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