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Rainbow Laces: Rosie Jones on discovering the power of football to support in 'I'm Game'

Comedian Rosie Jones, alongside host Mark McAdam, helps put West Ham Women through their paces and discovers the strength of teamwork and togetherness as part of a special Rainbow Laces episode of 'I'm Game'

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Comedian Rosie Jones joined up with reporter Mark McAdam in the latest episode of 'I'm Game', to put West Ham Women through their paces in support of the Rainbow Laces campaign.

"Growing up as a teenager, I couldn't work out how I could be disabled and gay – it felt too much."

Rosie Jones has come a long way from being a confused youngster to one of comedy's rising stars, appearing on a number of TV shows including The Last Leg, 8 Out of 10 Cats and Casualty.

The 31-year-old has accepted her sexuality and cerebral palsy so much so that they are usually incorporated into her stand-up routines, challenging stereotypes and prejudices.

However, despite being a passionate football fan, she rarely gets a chance to doing anything around sport so naturally jumped at the chance to join Sky Sports News' Mark McAdam at West Ham Women for the latest episode of 'I'm Game', in support of the Rainbow Laces campaign.

Comedian Rosie Jones spent the day with West Ham Women as part of the "I'm Game" series in support of the Rainbow Laces campaign.
Image: Rosie received a personalised West Ham shirt from Mark - but coaching, not playing, would be her role with the team

After getting kitted out as a fully-fledged member of the team, Rosie was given a tour of the training facilities before sitting down to chat with Gilly Flaherty to speak about her own experiences of being gay.

"My story is well known - I struggled to accept that I was gay when I was younger which led to me trying to take my own life," Flaherty said.

"I never really spoke openly about it until I came to West Ham and did the first Rainbow Laces campaign.

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West Ham United v Birmingham City - FA Women's Super League - Chigwell Construction Stadium
West Ham United's Gilly Flaherty during the FA Women's Super League match at Chigwell Construction Stadium, London. Picture date: Sunday October 10, 2021.
Image: Centre-back Gilly Flaherty is the captain of West Ham Women

"Women's football is great for being accepted and not being judged - you don't feel worried about coming out or talking about it with your team-mates."

Rosie spoke of her admiration for the West Ham captain and how growing up the word 'lesbian' was often used as an insult.

"I grew up thinking it was a bad word and that I couldn't be gay and disabled but I am so glad we can all sit here today and say we are proud to be gay," she added.

Comedian Rosie Jones spent the day with West Ham Women as part of the "I'm Game" series in support of the Rainbow Laces campaign.
Image: Rosie picked up a pair of pink boots from Canada international forward Adriana Leon

'Accepting every part of yourself takes time'

Rosie's day with West Ham Women made her realise the power sport can have to not only empower individuals but also provide a much-need support network.

But if there was one bit of last minute 'team-talk' advice she could give - what would it be?

"I realised a team is so much more, it's everyone working together and the loyalty and passion that everyone has is something very special," Rosie said.

Mark McAdam, Rosie Jones, West Ham Women, Rainbow Laces, I'm Game
Image: Mark and Rosie made themselves welcome in the canteen!

"If you are able to be yourself you will be a better person and therefore a better player.

"But if there is anyone struggling, take your time - I know from my own experience, truly accepting every part of yourself takes time and is still an on-going process.

"Keep doing what you are doing because football is so much more than 90 minutes and whoever you are - you will get there and one day you will be able to live and love as your true authentic self."

Rainbow Laces 2021 logo graphic

Find out what happened when Rosie Jones put West Ham Women through their paces in support of the Rainbow Laces campaign by watching the video at the top of the page.

Catch up on previous episodes of 'I'm Game' here, along with Jamie Carragher's trampolining test, Judge Rinder's trip to Tottenham, and Dr Ranj's Harlequins training session.

Sky Sports is a member of TeamPride which supports Stonewall's Rainbow Laces campaign, currently receiving its annual activation from November 25 to December 12.

Your story of being LGBTQ+ or an ally could help to make sport everyone's game - please contact us here to discuss further.

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