CP Sport collected a range of profiles from participants that play CP and/or Frame Football, as well as profiles from coaches, physiotherapists and parents of players to use as promotional material during the 2022 Football World Cup. We aim to encourage more people with CP to take part in sport by sharing positive stories and delivering opportunities.

Name: Phoebe Gibbons

Role: Coach

Club/Recreational Centre: Summertown Stars Warriors

About me: I joined Summertown Stars Warriors in November 2020 and through the support of CP Sport, I was able to complete the FA Playmaker course and the Level 1 Introduction to Coaching Football. Due to the pandemic, both of these courses were completed virtually which really suited my individual needs. Having Cerebral Palsy myself, I am all too aware of the limited opportunities there were and continue to be, for children and adults to access football in a way which meets their individual needs. It is such a privilege to be able to coach the wonderful children we work with, seeing the smiles on their faces is such a joy. I also really agree with the ethos of the team which is that everyone should be included regardless of their individual needs and abilities. Everyone should have the right to experience the joy of football and it’s important we continue to spread the word and raise awareness of Cerebral Palsy football.

The impact football has had on my life: Football has always been a massively important part of life. I could talk football all day and find the tactical side of the game fascinating. I also recognise how football has the ability to support individuals not only physically, but mentally and emotionally too. The amount of skills which can be developed through football is, in many ways, endless. From communication to team work through to self-confidence and regulating emotions, I believe football is a fantastic game for all round development.

What I enjoy about CP football: At Summertown Stars Warriors, we have both players who use frames and those who don’t. There are lots of elements to being able to be part of this team that I enjoy, however, I would say the element that I enjoy the most is the amount of fun and enjoyment everyone has. Bering able to see the children be able to have fun and be physically active in a way which works for them is really rewarding.

My ambitions in football: I would like to be able to support the development of more opportunities for children and adults with Cerebral Palsy to be able to play football in a way which works for them. We also need to recognise that for some people with Cerebral Palsy, it is not just their disability which poses barriers to accessing football, but other barriers such as financially. We need to ensure that local teams have the support to be able to develop Cerebral Palsy within their clubs.

What I would say to others with cerebral palsy about playing football: Give it a go! When you find the right environment which meets your individual needs, it is a fantastic experience. I do appreciate this is not always easy to find but we need to keep raising the profile of CP football and encouraging others to get involved, not only players, but coaches and clubs too. 

If you are interested in pursuing opportunities in CP football, frame football, adult or junior – please use the FA’s Find Football tool to locate sessions or clubs in your area, or email richard.kerr@cpsport.org