Dad Launches Soccer Team For Kids With Cerebral Palsy So His Son Can Play
A dad has launched a soccer team for kids with cerebral palsy, so his son with the condition can play with similar youngsters.
Bob Young, 51, set it up in 2020 after watching son Casey, 16, struggle to get the ball playing against non-disabled children.
Bob, from Crewkerne, Somerset, England, approached other parents and now Bristol City Cerebral Palsy Football Club has 30 players.
He said the club helps young players grow in confidence – and they thrive when they get on the field.
The head coach hopes to get support from England player Jack Grealish – whose sister Hollie has the same condition – to send the kids to a tournament abroad.
Bob, a self-employed landscaper, said: “Casey always loved football but we could never find a team to suit him – he couldn’t keep up.
“We started our own team with six players, not even a full team.
“But the word got out and we started to grow – after a year we had enough for two teams.
“We notice a confidence as soon as they come on the pitch, they can be there and be accepted with their disability no matter what.
“With Jack Grealish, he’s such a big star and a big name, and he’s so passionate about cerebral palsy awareness.
“His message sings out but we can’t get the message across like he does.
“I can’t even imagine what it would do for our kids if Jack Grealish knew about them!”
Bob managed to get some support through the Bristol City Robins Foundation who supplied them with kit, when he set it up with just six members.
The youngest player is six while the oldest is 17.
Bob said: “I wanted something more than just a football club for Casey – I wanted a way for him to make friends out of football.
“Three years on we have this safe and all-inclusive environment – a massive network of people going through the same thing together.”
They play regularly at Imperial Sports Ground in Brislington, Bristol, where parents volunteer as coaches.
They also meet up for social events for families.
Bob said: “There’s no book when it comes to parenting, but it’s even harder parenting a child with cerebral palsy.
“It’s good to have the chance to speak to other parents too.”
The club is paid for with fundraising, and last year raised enough to send teams to compete in a cerebral palsy tournament in Dublin.
This year they hope to be able to do the same tournament again, in Copenhagen, Denmark and need £10,000 ($11,940).
Two parents plan to run the Bristol Half Marathon in full firefighting kit.
Produced in association with SWNS Talker