The Young Gamers & Gamblers Education Trust has revealed that former footballer Marvin Sordell of England Under-21 has become the first ambassador of the charity.
YGAM will be voluntarily sponsored by Sordell, who represented Bolton Wanderers and Burnley in the Premier League, to provide useful input to educate their education initiatives with a focus on mental health.
Lee Willows, YGAM’s chief executive, explained: “This is another proud moment for the whole YGAM team. Marvin is an inspiration to many of us and he has done more to raise awareness of mental health than any other footballer.
“Lived experience is at the heart of everything we do, and Marvin brings a very authentic perspective to our work around mental health.
“His superb career in professional football followed by his inspiring work since retiring means Marvin also brings an admirable network that will benefit the charity enormously as we continue to grow our reach and impact in several new areas.
“The YGAM team have been so impressed with Marvin and we are all very excited to be working with him. I can’t think of better person to become our first ever ambassador and I’m delighted.”
Sordell, who also played for Watford, Coventry and Burton Albion, and led Team GB at the London Olympics in 2012, listed mental well-being as a major reason behind last year’s retirement from professional football at 28.
He set up a variety of companies after that decision and helped raise awareness of mental health problems in football.
As for the announcement, Sordell said: “I’m delighted to become an ambassador for YGAM. This is a fantastic charity led by some inspirational people in Lee, Anne and Keith. I joined the YGAM away day a few months ago and I was blown away by the passion and enthusiasm of everyone that works to deliver their education programmes.
“It’s amazing to see teachers, parents, youth workers and people with lived experience come together to safeguard future generations. It is very pleasing to see education around mental health form such a pivotal part of their resources. I’ve also been really impressed with their collaborations with football club community trusts and I’m looking forward to supporting their great work.”