Bromley’s budding footballer makes England breakthrough

Archie, an eight-year-old with cerebral palsy from Bromley, has been selected to join the FA Regional Emerging Disability Talent Programme following a successful trial day.

Archie was an active participant in our after-school football sessions for a year with Foundation Coach, Alhaji Alghali, before he joined grassroots side Petts Wood FC in Bromley. Archie was delighted when his friend spotted on Facebook that the Foundation was hosting an England Talent Day, the first step on the FA Disability Talent Pathway, in June and could not wait to showcase his football skills.

Archie at FA Trials

Reflecting on the England Talent Day, Archie said: “I love to play football whenever I can. I also learned some new skills that the coaches told me to practice every day. Also when anyone asks me what foot I am stronger with, I say both!”

Both his confidence and knack for goals caught the eyes of the Foundation coaches on the day, as well as FA Disability Football Scout, Mike Nolan. Archie was subsequently referred to the FA Regional Emerging Disability Talent Programme (RETP) trials in Slough earlier this month.

Feeling nervous at first, he settled quickly after a talk with the RETP coach, and thereafter showed his goal scoring ability, pace and newly acquired skills. With a promising future and the potential to represent the England Cerebral Palsy Football National Team, Archie is feeling optimistic: “I feel really proud and happy that I got through, and glad that I showed the coaches enough of my skill. It would be crazy to play for England one day. Because of my cerebral palsy I am practicing every day to get better with my left foot!”

FA Disability Trials

The FA Disability Talent Pathway is the Elite Pathway for footballers who are blind, deaf, partially sighted, have cerebral palsy or an amputated limb. The seven steps of the Pathway provides a linear progression for talented footballers with a disability to represent their respective national team. As a Foundation, we endeavour to identify and support promising footballers with a disability to progress onto elite disability football talent.

To find out more about our disability programmes, contact the Foundation’s Disability Officer, Keon Richardson, on 075 2222 5373, or by email: KeonRichardson@palaceforlife.org