Daisy is a 12-year-old girl who has a passion for playing football. Not only has this given Daisy a release from the stresses of her condition, it's also helped her build new friendships, given her a sense of belonging and strengthened her bond with her dad, Kenny.
She's also found that football gives her a much needed release from the physical tics that come with her condition. When she's playing, the involuntary movement and coughing decreases, giving her much more freedom.
In her own words, “I get stressed and fidgety. Playing makes me play football and forget.”
Daisy has been playing football since she was five years' old.
She was first introduced to football when she asked her dad if she could go with him to a Peterborough United game. She'd always been a ‘girly’ girl, showing an interest in dance and ballet. Kenny wasn't expecting her to like football but she loved it.
Her love for the game took her dad by surprise, but since her first match, they've never looked back. When she got her first kit she says it was “quite exciting because I felt I was part of something”.
At first Daisy's parents couldn't find a girls-only team for Daisy to join, so she started out by playing in a boys' team.
When speaking about playing on a team for the first time, her dad said, “She got her first kit when she was around six years old. She was the only girl in the team and I think she felt like she belonged. She was part of a team and off she went.”
But there was a problem with the boys' team: after a couple of seasons, the boys just weren't passing to her as much.
But it had its advantages to the development of her playing style. She says that “Playing with the boys made me tougher. They never passed to me. I had to fight for the ball.”
Her parents were then able to find her a girls-only team to join, Yaxley FC. She gets on really well with the girls in her team and Kenny thinks she's closer to her teammates than she is with school friends. It has given her a sense of belonging, given her more confidence and helped her build friendships.
“I think she can come together with like-minded girls who don't judge her. She's with a bunch of people she's comfortable with. It's probably because they're all concentrating on ability. They're judging her on football.”
Daisy feels that boys have opportunities that girls could benefit from in the same ways. When asked about it, she said, “I think there should be more clubs for girls. It's not fair how boys have plenty of opportunities and places to go and girls don't.”
Daisy's team-mates awarded her the Players' Player of the Year trophy. She's really proud of it and she says it's her biggest achievement yet. It was a huge deal for her because the other players chose her. Her next goal is to be captain of the team.
She expected she'd play for a few years but now it's turned into an important part of her life.
The relationship with her dad
Daisy's love of football has introduced her dad to women's football. He's been to matches which he admits he would never have gone to if it hadn't been for his daughters. He thinks the “female game is brilliant. It's a sport undiscovered.”
Kenny and his wife take Daisy to her training and matches. Kenny loves watching his daughter play. With Dad on the side-lines cheering her on, Daisy gets the extra confidence boost that helps her succeed. In the summer they have little competitions with each other, like one-on-one matches.
If it wasn't for football, Daisy says they'd still spend time together but it “wouldn't be as special. It's a connection between us because we're both passionate about football”.
More about Daisy
Follow the links below to find out more about Daisy, including what happened when she met her idol, Chelsea FC Women star Eni Aluko.