Player Profiles – Alison O’Neill (Delphi)
Alison (30) admires the Scottish education systems and came over from Seattle to take an MBA at Glasgow University. Enthused by the Olympics, she went for an interview hoping for a little temporary work doing something like selling T shirts. However, her performance was so impressive that she was put in charge of the bus transportation for all the Olympic football teams (and accompanying media) in Glasgow (co-host city). After the MBA she hopes to remain in Europe and get involved in product/brand management.
Interest in football
The family is football mad (dad and brother are both refs) and she has been playing since the age of four. She played for the Glasgow University women’s team. It’s a sport which appeals to her drive for success.
“I’m a pretty competitive person and love that aspect of football. I’ve always loved building up my skills.”
As soon as Alison heard about Forest Pitch she was keen to get involved.
“I was so interested to find out about Forest Pitch, this amazing mix of art, nature and sport. I never heard anything like it and am so happy to be part of this unique historical event.
“I didn’t realise how much of a mix of people there would be. I was really surprised by the diversity. It’s an amazing part of the project; it really showcases Scotland, Scottish culture, and the Scottish passion for football.”
Player Profiles – Dylan Bell
Originally from New Zealand Dylan, 33, came to Britain a decade ago after university, fell in love with Catherine, married her and stayed. They live in Edinburgh with their three young children. He is a teacher in East Lothian.
In the early days he did all kinds of jobs from cleaning to shop work. Dylan’s life changed when Body Shop sent him to do volunteer work in Romanian orphanages: “It was like nothing I’d ever seen before. Some of the children were just mini-people because they were so malnourished. While I was there I found that I really liked engaging with young people. When I came back I heard there was a job going as a classroom assistant so tried that and decided to go the whole way and train as a teacher.”
Interest in football
Dylan had an outdoor and sporting life in New Zealand, often playing Rugby League. Football, however, was never really on his radar. Nowadays that’s changed – Dylan started joining in games in the park and is now a keen player and is often among the crowds at Hibs matches.
“Before I came here I’d never kicked a round ball and had no idea of the rules of football. But it was everywhere and it seemed a great way to join in and get to know people. But I didn’t realise you weren’t allowed to come into contact with other players and shove them off the ball.”
The idea of playing football in woodland attracted Dylan to Forest Pitch. He thought it would be fun and it also chimed with the voluntary work he does teaching bush craft to young people to improve their self-reliance.
“It sounded like a real laugh, and a good way to mix with folk. I’m also really looking forward to playing a competitive game with a proper ref. I’ve only played the 11 aside game a couple of times before so it’ll be a real experience. I think the whole Olympic spirit idea is great – bringing people together through sport.”
Since coming to Scotland Dylan has picked up a few words of languages such as Urdu, which has absolutely delighted some of his fellow players at Forest Pitch.