Newham basketball coach celebrates Youngbloods’ progress
PUBLISHED: 07:00 03 January 2017
PE teacher Caroline Charles is the power behind one of the borough’s biggest basketball clubs.
When she’s not teaching GCSE PE, the 55-year-old is coaching, travelling and improving children’s basketball skills at her club Newham Youngbloods.
Caroline, of Kempton Road, East Ham, founded the basketball club around 30 years ago, when she returned home to play the sport she grew up with, after she finished studying at university.
“When I came back I saw some kids still playing, but they were hardly playing any games and the women I used to play with had all gone away to have babies and families, so I was left with the kids.”
Now the under-18s coach has led the club to multiple tournament victories and has travelled the globe with her players.
“Some of the best memories have been winning the Youth Games with the girls and getting to the semi-finals with the boys,” says Caroline.
“Getting to the final fours with both the boys and the girls and travelling to America, Denmark, Holland, Germany, France and all over the place.”
But, what makes the former player most pleased, is when she sees the youngsters progress.
“I love seeing the kids do well, achieve and just enjoy themselves.
“Some of my players have even gone off to college in America to play.”
Caroline, who has worked at the Youth Games for the past 17 years, also spoke about how the club got the name and how the Olympic Games have benefited the club’s teams.
“I asked the kids what they wanted to be called and they voted to be the Youngbloods.
“Since the London 2012 Olympic Games many local children have become involved in basketball. One of my main aims was to get and maintain girls’ participation in basketball.
Although massive numbers have not turned up at our Youngbloods door since 2012, we have been able to field u18, u16, u14 – with a handful of u11 girls.”
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