Most importantly was the family ethos that was being created and the foundations being laid as to how I would want to take care of my own family and provide memories that they will treasure like I did.
To have a son at a young stage in my life and to learn what it is to have such a huge responsibility at the age of just 19, at a time when not even 6 months later I’d be losing my 13 year old brother to a road traffic accident, I found out quickly that you don’t get a chance to practice parenting. But you just have to do it and be it without a thought or moment to pause. Now here I am, three more kids and a wife later, it is important to me that they understand who they are and where they have come from.
This ethos is something I always take with me, particularly through my work at Canton Liberal FC. I've been involved in the running of the club for several years now and it's so rewarding to see people from so many different walks of life come together and enjoying each other's company through the beautiful game. Bagging three points is just an added bonus to us, what’s most important is the character building and life skills we are developing in these young human beings.
They, the club, and the legacy we leave are so important to me.
I’ve made so many mistakes in my life which help to keep me humble but also motivate me to learn and share with others to help them do better from where I failed. I always want to do more for my local community and fully embrace my Welsh and Iranian cultures. Born in Kermanshah, my father came to this country early in life and has fully immersed into the British lifestyle. That hasn't meant he's forgotten his heritage (or his accent!) - in fact, I have many great childhood memories visiting relatives in Iran. I've not been in 20 years but I am keen to return one day and take my kids with me so that they may understand the importance of their heritage.
My parents met in Newport at an American style restaurant - my mother was waiting on my father and the rest is history. By coincidence, that is exactly how I met my wife, though not in the same restaurant! We have three amazing children together and I'd do anything for them. I want them to embrace their Welsh and Iranian heritage too. It's perhaps easier for them to understand the Welsh language, celebrate St David's Day and enjoy the beautiful landscape given that we live in Wales but it is great to see they are keen to learn more about their Iranian side too. Next year, I want to do more around marking Norooz (Persian New Year) and one day, together, learn the language and introduce them to our family from Iran.
Our Cymranian heritage has made its mark from a sporting point of view and we have developed into such a footballing family (much to my wife’s despair) and in a momentous year when Wales have qualified for their first World Cup in so many years to be drawn against Iran is something that we are truly overjoyed with.
Life has taught me through experience that it’s not where you spend the moments that make memories but who you share them with. I look forward to sitting down with my Cymranian family and friends to take in every moment of this historical occasion – diolch yn fawr and khod-hafez!