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Black History Month: Meet the Evans

Marketing & Communications
We talk to Stuart, Naomi, Ryan and Kyla about their journey as a family in Norfolk Football.

As part of our Black History Month 2023 series we spoke to the Evans family about their journey and experiences within Norfolk Football.

The Evans family – Stuart, Naomi, Ryan and Kyla – live in Blofield with children Ryan and Kyla both actively playing grassroots football in Norfolk. Ryan, aged 14, plays for both Thorpe St Andrew school and football club, while Kyla aged 12 plays for Thorpe St Andrew School and Blofield United FC.  

Stuart, originally from Norfolk, met Naomi, originally from Kenya, in Dubai when both were in the UAE working, they later got married and settled down locally in Blofield.

Stuart is a keen cyclist, competing at National and International level previously and highlights that the children’s interest in football has been organic to them, and simply something him and Naomi have supported when their desire to play was first expressed.

Stuart: “Cycling was my sport; I’d always had an interest in football but never really played much as cycling was the sport I enjoyed most and what I pursued, managing to compete at a high level.

“Ryan had an interest in football from a young age, playing at school and with his friends. We always encouraged that, resulting in him joining Blofield United at the age of seven.”

Naomi: “Kyla was originally involved in cheer leading, however more recently showed an interest in playing football having watched her brother, and she’s now in her third season with Blofield.”

When asked about the family’s experiences within the game locally, Stuart cites that it’s been nothing but positive, with football providing a foundation for positive life skills.

Stuart:The experience of being involved in football locally has been good, the teams that Ryan and Kyla have played with have always been supportive and offered encouragement to both of them. We and the children haven’t had any negative experiences within the game. We have also seen Ryan and Kyla play against many teams that include young Black players and also Asian players, and have never experienced anything untoward against them. 

“Being involved in grassroots football has provided new friendships for the children and ourselves. We’ve seen first-hand the positive benefits of playing in a team sport for children, such as encouraging teamwork, communication skills, friendship and helping others, respect and accepting differences.”

We then spoke to the family about its Kenyan Heritage, how they embrace that within their family and what Black History Month means to them.

Naomi: “For us, Black History Month is an opportunity to celebrate and promote achievements of black people in all areas of life and encourage others to recognise and inspire them to reach their potential.”

Ryan: “It’s a time to celebrate and remember black history and the chance to understand and promote different cultures. For me it’s a better understanding of my Kenyan heritage, I like to learn things about the Kenyan culture, I enjoy Kenyan social events and meeting other Kenyan children around my age.

“I also enjoy meeting and have other friends from different cultures and from different African countries.”

Stuart: “Naomi was born in Kenya and we encourage both Ryan and Kyla to embrace their Kenyan heritage.

“We have visited Kenya several times with Ryan and Kyla experiencing life in a Kenyan village and they also spent a day in a local Kenyan school. They keep in touch with some of their cousins and nephews via social media.

“They also both enjoy Kenyan food which Naomi cooks regularly!”

Ryan Evans web image

Ryan (14) who plays for Thorpe St. Andrew FC


This year’s theme for Black History Month is ‘Saluting our Sisters’ celebrating the exceptional achievements of black women through time.

We spoke to Naomi and Kyla about that, the importance of role models in all walks of life, and Kyla’s journey in football so far.

Naomi: “Saluting our Sisters is an opportunity to make people aware of the past achievements of black women and to inspire and empower future generations.

“My role model has always been my Mum who was a strong woman who was always there for her family. She was always striving to provide the best for her children and she raised her children to be respectful and hard working.

“I think role models and opportunities are both important – already Kyla has had a lot more opportunity to compete in sports than I had. And seeing successful Black players, coaches, referees in both the men’s and women’s game can enable young people to be inspired.

“It can also show to others the struggles Black people in sport have faced and how they have been able to break barriers and move forward.”

Kyla: “I enjoy playing because I enjoy being part of a team and the friendships it creates. I started because my brother played and now I play for Blofield and at school as a midfielder or winger.

“My favourite experiences so far are winning the Holland Cup [Football Tournament in Holland] and the School Championship [National School Championship]. But the best part is being part of the team and the new friendships.

“My favourite footballers are Neymar, Lucy Bronze, Sam Kerr and Lauren James. I look up to Lauren James because she’s exciting to watch and plays in a similar position to me.”

When asked what Kyla would say to any little girl starting to play football for the first time, she had one simple piece of advice:

Kyla: “Enjoy it!” 

Kyla Evans web image

Kyla (12) competing for Blofield United FC


To finish we touched on whether more can be done to address equal opportunities within the game and how we can increase diversity.   

Stuart: “More can be done. By having role models in football throughout all levels of the game and across all areas of the game sends the message to Black people that there are opportunities to succeed in football, from the Boardroom to the football pitch.”

Naomi: “As the number one sport in the UK, football has the opportunity to bring people together, to remove barriers and to bring people of different communities together and encourage social collaboration.”

On behalf of all at Norfolk FA we’d like to thank Stuart, Naomi, Ryan and Kyla for speaking with us about their journey in football so far.