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Blog: “Playing football makes me very happy”

Activity Alliance features a blog post every Friday which shares the experiences of disabled people involved in sport and exercise at all levels. In this blog we continue this theme and hear from 12 year old Bryan who tells us how he got into football and how he wants to encourage other disabled children to take up football.

Bryan smiling to camera in his CP United football kit.

Hi I’m Bryan, I’m 12 years old and I love playing football. I live in South Yorkshire with my family and I have cerebral palsy (CP).

I play football for CP United, based in Manchester, as well as my local team the Fishlake Falcons. I train with my football teams about three times a week. I also do yoga strength and conditioning training, which I do two to three times per week for about 10-15 minutes.

I have always enjoyed football from the age of six but found it really difficult to join in with my friends and join a local team.

When I was eight years old I joined my school friends’ regular football team – which is the Fishlake Falcons - and have been involved ever since. I started playing CP football after finding some YouTube videos on the England National CP’s Captain, Jack Rutter. -My dad contacted him on social media and he helped me get involved with CP football and the England talent pathway - which I now also train with four times a year.

What I most enjoy about being active is being part of a team and getting to be involved with all the amazing opportunities it brings. I know a lot of children who have CP and don’t get to play mainstream games, so I am lucky I found a club who would give me a chance. It can be hard sometimes keeping up with them but I enjoy the challenge. With My CP team it’s just as hard sometimes because I really want to do well and make my coaches proud.

Being active has helped me both physically and socially. When I was younger I experienced both good and sometimes challenging experiences but I have always worked extremely hard to be the best I can be. I really enjoy being active as it helps me with my CP. I also really enjoy trying to overcome new challenges.

Being involved in sport makes me very happy, especially when I see other children at my CP team learning new things, or trying new skills - this makes me also want to learn new things and keep being active. When I first started at the Fishlake Falcons my friends and coaches were really nice and helped me a lot to settle in and feel part of the team.

The support of my family and friends is really important to me. Without my family and friends helping me I would not have had as many amazing experiences. My dad drives me all over the country to take part in a lot of football tournaments. We also do a three hour round trip to Manchester every Saturday. From the very start my friends at both my teams have been amazing. I have also met some new friends, who like Jack Rutter, have helped me get involved in a sport I never knew existed. I really like that Jack wants to support other children become active and enjoy sport as much as I do.

The future sees me continuing to work hard towards my goal of one day playing for the England Senior CP team, like my football heroes Jack and the team. I am looking forward to playing loads more football, learning new skills and meeting many more amazing people who also enjoy being active and taking part in sport.

To other disabled people wanting to take up sports, I would definitely encourage them as the opportunities to meet new people and be active are out there - the benefits are massive. I would really like to get more children involved in CP football and encourage them to contact their local FA for more information on how to get involved with their local club.

I have a YouTube channel with videos all about CP football and training ideas to get you started. Hopefully I will get to see some of you soon on the pitch!

Watch and follow Bryan’s videos on his YouTube channel. You can also follow Bryan’s journey via his Twitter channel.

 Bryan smiling to camera in his CP England football kit

For more information about cerebral palsy football opportunities, visit CP Sport National CP Football League.

Find contact information for your local FA via the Football Association website.