Meet the Hometown Heroes – the volunteers, coaches, managers, and grafters who work tirelessly behind the scenes to keep grassroots sport alive. They’re the local champions making a real difference in the West Midlands.
Two of those profileD from a range of sports have dedicated their lives to basketball.
Read their stories below.
Steven Mroso lives and breathes basketball, having been involved in the sport for over 20 years as a player, coach and manager.
Currently the general manager at Team Birmingham Elite, Steve handles the day-to-day duties that are required to keep the club going including admin tasks, liaising with parents and guardians, arranging international camps and projects and building sponsorship relationships.
But his passion lies with his coaching…
Steve dedicates his time as the head coach of the women’s team at Birmingham City University, head coach to the junior groups and assistant coach to the Academy teams and the senior groups.
Through his coaching, Steve aims to be a positive role model to the players, always leading by example and ensuring that the players have access to opportunities. He promotes healthy discipline and fair game play and encourages players to get involved at whatever level they can.
Steve is also a great mentor for the players. He finds solutions to support young people to be successful, not only in basketball, but also in education and life skills. As a former PE and maths teacher, Steve even lends a hand in helping the young players during their exam periods.
Having devoted his life to basketball, Steve is a true ambassador for the sport in Birmingham.
Since he moved to Birmingham from Portugal in 2018, Ricardo has made a huge impact on the City of Birmingham Rockets Basketball Club.
Unable to make a living in Portugal from playing basketball, Ricardo initially settled into a new life in the UK. A chance encounter at the club’s base in Nechells started Ricardo on a path that would not only change his life, but the lives of the hundreds of young people who shoot hoops there.
He started as a volunteer coach before progressing to working for the club both as a coach and by helping with marketing and communications. The impact he’s had with the young players, from beginners to elite, in that time has been described as “staggering”.
He works upwards of 65 hours a week, giving up many of his evenings and weekends to coach the children. He does it because he loves to help people, but more than that, he’s encouraged the young people he works with to focus on something positive and grow as people.
More than 800 young people attend coaching sessions at Nechells Wellbeing Centre every week and Ricardo ensures that everyone who comes through the door is treated equally, regardless of ethnicity, religion, or socio-economic background.
He is extremely grateful for the support the club has given him to fulfil his dream, and he is now repaying that with his own time.
Basketball changed Ricardo’s life and now he is changing other people’s lives.