As you know, at Live and Move we are huge fans of anything that gets the people of Exeter and Cranbrook moving more and feeling good. But some people face additional barriers to taking part in physical activity, especially members of the LGBTQIA+ community who might have had negative experiences in the past. Thankfully, there’s one man here to change that: meet Lewis from ISCA Apollo, Exeter’s first LGBTQIA+ football team!
Originally hailing from London, Lewis had previously played for an LGBTQIA+ football team there which had given him a huge confidence boost. Before that, he says that he often felt anxious and worried about standing out from his teammates due to his sexuality, so having a safe space to enjoy playing the beautiful game allowed him to simply focus on scoring goals.
When he moved to Exeter he wanted to create something similar: a safe space for people to simply play football without any stress. Along with Craig Luny and Cody Hepburn, he decided to set up ISCA Apollo and the rest is history. Today, around 12-15 players come to training sessions every week with numbers steadily increasing.
Aside from the obvious fitness benefit and improved ball skills, Lewis says he sees players visibly gain confidence not only on the pitch, but in their everyday lives too. The social side of the club is just as important: the team often support the Exeter City Grecians and go for nights out!
Lewis says: “The friendships that I and the rest of the team have gained has been one of the best things the club has given everyone.”
“‘Many of the younger generation see football as a ‘straight’ sport. Having clubs like us will hopefully help them realise that it is a sport that everybody can pursue.’
If you are interested in joining ISCA Apollo, Lewis would like to reassure you not to be nervous. You could go to a social event before joining a training session to meet the rest of the team in a more relaxed environment, and, as club chairperson, Lewis makes sure to speak to all new players to make them feel welcome.
ISCA Apollo train every Wednesday night at 8:30pm at West Exe School for one hour. The first session is free, after which it’s £3 per session for all members. Training is led by qualified FA coaches with a mix of drills, skills and a mixed-ability match during sessions.
We love telling great local stories and spotlighting the different ways people in Exeter and Cranbrook get active. Read more stories from Exeter and Cranbrook here.
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