Family: Mother & Daughter
What if your children excel in a sport? How do you nurture their talent and handle the business side of things? Meet Jenny and Charlotte Lynch - a mother-daughter duo making waves in the world of football
We meet an extraordinary football family rewriting the rules of the game! Jenny Lynch, a former head teacher, has taken on the dual role of nurturing her daughter Charlotte’s talent and managing her moves off the pitch. And what a talent Charlotte possesses! Rising as a star in Leyton Orient and winning the league in her first season, as well as being a skilled freestyler, she fearlessly shatters glass ceilings in women’s football. But the spotlight doesn’t fade there. Let’s not forget Jeremy, Charlotte’s charismatic older brother, captivating fans worldwide with his electrifying freestyle skills. Join us as we sit down with this remarkable mother-daughter duo, delving into their journey, the challenges they’ve faced, and the triumphant moments that have defined them.
Glorious: Great to meet you both! What does family mean to you and how did your family set-up contribute to your journey in football?
Charlotte: Well, my mum did play football at school, but it wasn’t a formal team. It was a long time ago.
Jenny: Yes, it was back in the day. As an adult, I joined a women’s team after having the children.
Charlotte: She used to bring my sister and me along to watch her play at the local community centre! It was more recreational than competitive. Then my brother wanted to play football when we moved to a new area. Mum asked the local church if they had a football team, and they did. So my brother joined, and I would go along to watch, but I couldn’t play since it was a boys’ team.
Glorious: And the rest is history! So did you get her on the team Jenny?
Jenny: Yes, I spoke to the manager and told him that Charlotte really wanted to play. My other sons (Jeremy and Christopher) were already playing. Initially, he said she couldn’t play because she’s a girl. We both chuckled and I thanked him for pointing out the obvious, but asked if there was any way she could still play, so he discussed it with the board. They didn’t think it was possible since they didn’t plan on starting a girls’ team at that time. However, they decided to let her play in the friendlies and training sessions. When the boys saw that she could actually play, they accepted her. They were impressed by her skills, even though they initially perceived her as timid. As a defender, she proved herself and they eventually asked if she could join the team. The manager went back to the board, and it got approved. So she became the only girl playing in the boys’ team. It was difficult at times, but it toughened her up and she learned how to handle herself!
Glorious: It’s always fascinating to explore the nature versus nurture aspect when it comes to your interest in football. Both you and your brother have chosen careers in football, and I’m curious whether that passion stems from your upbringing, or if it’s simply a path you naturally gravitated towards.
Charlotte: It’s a bit of a complex question! I studied Sports Science, and I don’t think there’s an exact answer to it. I believe it’s a combination of factors. There are certain innate qualities and passions within us, but it also takes someone to believe in you and invest their time and energy in your development. Seeing someone close to you pursuing their dreams can be a powerful inspiration. In my case, my mum played a crucial role. She supported me, acted as my voice when I couldn’t find mine, and made a significant difference in my journey. Seeing how my mum was my voice when I needed it, I want to do the same for others. Even if it’s not always through words, I aim to inspire and show what can be achieved in male-dominated spaces that are often challenging to break into.
Glorious: Jenny, you manage your daughter, so we can imagine being thrust into a world of contract negotiations and brand deals was probably a little overwhelming!
Jenny: Well, you always learn on the job! My background is in teaching. I was a professional teacher, a quality improvement practitioner, and a senior lecturer, training teachers at University. I’ve always been passionate about working with young people, ensuring equality and diversity. As a teacher, my goal was to support students and help them reach their full potential. Being a head teacher for 16 years and working with my children in their performing arts activities, where they participated and won competitions, provided a solid foundation for managing their careers. With Charlotte, I’m involved at the grassroots level, handling brand partnerships and contracts. While social media and various platforms are not my strong suit due to age differences, I excel in communication, liaison, negotiation, and making things happen! Each of us has our roles, and we work together as a team to achieve our goals.
Glorious: It must be a significant difference observing the male-dominated football world for Jeremy and the emerging female football space for Charlotte. What differences have you noticed?
Jenny: Absolutely! It’s no secret that football is a male-dominated sport. The female game of football is only recently starting to gain momentum, while football has been prominent in Jeremy’s world for a long time and it has been easier for him to get brand deals because of his high profile and years in the industry. From my perspective, sometimes men feel unsure when they see me because they might think, “What is she doing here?” But once they get to know me, they become more comfortable. It’s important to hold your ground and be confident in who you are. I can be quite assertive as well. Now it’s Charlotte’s time and things are spiralling. Every day we receive different requests and people are coming on board with her. Charlotte has been nominated for several awards, and her social media platform is growing quickly on a daily basis!
Glorious: Charlotte, tell us about the work you are doing.
Charlotte: I’m involved in a bit of everything. I speak on panels about my experience in creating social media content. For example, I also spoke to a group of girls at a Women’s International Day event at Watford Football Club. Brands ask me to advertise their products on Instagram, I recently partnered with a brand for shin pads. Essentially, we’re moving away from TV and magazine advertising, and social media is where it’s at. People are spending their money and time there. I interview athletes and cover live sports events, particularly football. I create live football skills tutorials for all ages. I act in films and also sing at events which I am passionate about.
Glorious: When you work together with your mum, do you always see eye to eye when it comes to brand deals?
Charlotte: That’s a great question! We usually agree to a certain extent. There’s a lot of transparency, and we include each other in all email communications. I tend to be more direct and assertive in business matters, which is just my personality. I’ve experienced people trying to take advantage, especially being a woman in a male-dominated industry. My mum, on the other hand, is more empathetic and diplomatic!
Jenny: Yes, I’m generally more diplomatic! We balance each other out!
Charlotte: There are no arguments. My mum manages the emails and correspondence. I have a clear idea of what I want to say, and my mum refines it to make it more palatable! My mum brings charisma and fosters good relationships, which is crucial for maintaining ongoing business and partnerships.
Jenny: That’s my approach – to continue relationships and treat people as individuals, not just numbers. We may have different styles, but both are effective. I see the person behind the email, and negotiation is one of my strengths!
Charlotte: Ultimately, I know mum has my best interests at heart and I don’t think you could ask for better management than that. My mum would never betray my trust, steal from me, or let me down. Unfortunately, we often hear about incidents on TV and in the news where parents take advantage of their children or mishandle money.
Glorious: Jenny, what advice would you give to a mother who recognises exceptional sporting talent in their child and how would you guide them on negotiating that path?
Jenny: As a former head teacher, parents have approached me with similar questions. Some parents want their children to pursue academia or go to university, but the child may have a passion for sports like football or another sport. I believe as a parent, it’s not our role to impose our desires on our children. We should want the best for them, but ultimately, they have their own lives. If a child shows a genuine love for something, I would encourage and support them in that area. For example, if my daughter showed an interest in football, I would want to help her pursue it. As a parent, it’s important to recognise that it’s not about us; it’s about what’s right for our children. I think some parents go astray by pushing their children into activities they want them to do. Each child is unique, and I want them to become the best version of themselves. My role is to support and assist them in whatever they choose to do, encouraging them and finding avenues where I can provide guidance and support on their journey of progress.
Glorious: So, Jenny, how are your freestyle football skills?!
Jenny: Hahaha! I’ve tried it, but I don’t think it’s my strong suit! His dad loves football and when he went to watch Jeremy play, Jeremy posted a video on Instagram saying, “Oh, I didn’t get my football talents from my mama.” Charlotte and I thought, “We’re not having that!”
Charlotte: I told mum to get in the garden. We’re filming a video!
Jenny: I did a video showing my football skills, and Jeremy found it hilarious. I can do a few keepie uppies and kick the ball well, but I can’t do it the way they can. However, I can hold my own. Jeremy didn’t just get those talents from his dad!
Glorious: Do you and your brother support each other?
Charlotte: Absolutely! When I first started my journey, he shared my Instagram because I started very late, and he wanted to let his followers know that I was doing football skills. If I have a video to edit, I’ll show it to him before I release it and ask for tips or suggestions because he’s an expert in his field. He provides me with tips, tricks, and encouragement. It’s so valuable to have that, and I would have to pay a lot of money for it if he weren’t my brother!
In the last five months, I’ve actually been working with Jeremy to film. He used to do it all by himself, so it’s refreshing for him to have someone to say, “What if you tried this?” or “Jeremy, I think you’ve got it.” He’s a perfectionist, and he appreciates that second opinion and feedback because he’s been doing it alone for so long due to his drive.
Glorious: I’m guessing he appreciates your support as well?
Charlotte: Yes, absolutely. It’s a beautiful relationship. He’s a kind person. Even in football, we have that healthy competition and exchange ideas for content. I’ll suggest a video concept, and he’ll add a twist or propose something else. It’s a wonderful collaboration, and I feel really blessed.
Glorious: It’s great that you both work in a sport you’re passionate about and that it has brought you closer together. It has probably taken you to places as a family that you haven’t experienced before?
Charlotte: Definitely. I always say that sport and music are universal languages, and we connect through music too because it’s our passion. With football, we always have something to talk about, and we message each other saying, “Have you seen this?” or “Have you thought about this?” It has definitely brought us together in a unique way. That’s the beauty of sport; it has turned many of my friendships into family-like relationships. It brings people together.
Jenny: What I’ve noticed since I’ve been managing Charlotte and going to different places with her is that the mother-son relationship is different from the mother-daughter relationship. When I go with Charlotte, and even with Jeremy as well, the friends they meet tend to call me “mumzy.” Everyone knows me as mumzy now. It’s lovely when I go there; I feel blessed that their friends embrace me as well. It’s not just like, “Oh, she’s her manager.” It’s almost like being part of the family.
Glorious: So, what’s next?
Charlotte: On 20th May Jeremy and I are going to play in a charity match together for The Kiyan Prince Foundation. It’s a charity that was set up in memory of Kiyan who passed away due to knife crime. It’s run by his father with the mission of empowering young people to develop positive core values and beliefs that lead to them making choices that have a valuable impact on not only their lives but the lives of those in their community. There will be several celebrities participating. It’s nice because I started on Jeremy’s football team when I was 11 years-old, and now we get to play together as adults! Our family will be coming to watch, so it’s going to be a great day out!
Glorious: Wow, that sounds like an incredible event for a meaningful cause! I’m sure it will be a memorable day for you and your family. Now, looking beyond the charity match, what other exciting plans or goals do you have for the future?
Charlotte: Well, my main focus right now is to continue growing my presence in the football world, both as a player and a content creator. I want to inspire young girls and show them that they can achieve anything they set their minds to. I believe in the power of representation and using my voice to advocate for equality and diversity in football. I have some exciting collaborations coming up with brands, and I’m also working on expanding my social media platforms to reach a wider audience. Plus, some very exciting news! Negotiations have been finalised and I am off to Australia to cover the Women’s World Cup with FIFA doing live interviews and producing content for their social media!
Jenny: As for me, I’ll be continuing to support Charlotte in her journey, managing her career, and exploring new opportunities for her!