Tracey Motaung is a GRS Coach in Gauteng, South Africa, who was recently trained in December 2016.

While she has faced many challenges and difficulties in her life, joining GRS marked a major change of direction for her. From the Training of Coaches forward, she has developed a new sense of purpose to help herself and those in her community. This is her GRS story. 

When I joined the GRS DREAMS team in December, I thought it was just a new job, I would do what I needed to do, get paid and pay my bills. At that time in my life, nothing made me happy. My dad had died right in front of me in the last year, I had lost most everything in my name due to the fact that his first wife wanted nothing to do with me, because my mother was his second wife. I wanted to die each and every morning from the sadness of losing my dad; but my daughter was my only hope to keep me going.

After my first Training of Coaches at the Nike Training Centre in Soweto, I could not wait for the next day. I saw trainers facilitating, and from that day on, I knew it was my calling. I saw myself in some of the trainers. I found healing through the stories shared by my fellow Coaches, and how resilient they are through their challenges. The Coaches stories made me realise that sometimes you have to be broken in order to gain strength. As the training went on, I started finding myself again and my source of joy came back to life.

Coach Tracey Motaung (center) pictured with students.

When I started my first intervention, I met a participant who disclosed to me that she was sexually abused and I was the first person she had ever told after years of abuse. From that moment, I knew my life was not about me anymore, it was about my calling and bringing hope to others. She asked me to call her mom and be the one to break the secret she had been hiding. When I got home, I sobbed and gathered the strength to call her mother. I broke the news to the participant’s mother and we started crying together over the phone. What changed my hurt, was the mother saying she was glad her daughter had disclosed to someone and pleaded that I help her daughter because she feels she had failed her.

The next step I took was writing a referral form and talking to the GRS Care Coordinator about the case. The participant started counselling sessions, and we still talk through social media today. She tells me how I changed her life, giving her hope. She also feels that the counselling sessions have helped her a lot, and she has gained much of her self-efficacy and confidence back. She recently said to me, Coach Tracey, you gave me my strength back, thank you. I am really glad I joined Grassroot Soccer’s SKILLZ programme, where I found someone I could trust and share my deepest secret with.

I’m proud to share my story so that other young adults and adolescents can learn from my experiences. Grassroot Soccer has changed my life, and it is already helping me change the lives of other young people in my community.