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: Harry Baker
Role: Player
Club: England Cerebral Palsy Team

 

About me: I was born with Cerebral Palsy, I am now 25 years old and have competed in 7 major tournaments. Including an Intercontinental Cup, 2 European Championships, World Games and 3 World Championships.

I won the European Championship Golden Boot in 2018 scoring 7 goals in 5 games. I have also competed in a 3rd/4th play-off in a World Cup.

My Cerebral Palsy football journey started when I was 13 years old I started playing Pan disability football for Northampton Town. I was then scouted at 14 to play for the West Midlands Cerebral Palsy team. A year later I was selected for the England Cerebral Palsy Under 21 squad at aged 15. A couple weeks after my sixteenth birthday I was invited to my first England CP Senior camp. From there I was selected for my first major tournament and I have been around the squad now for 9 years.

What I enjoy about CP football: The format of the game is incredible, it is end to end and very exciting. It is a true test of your physical fitness and your technical ability. It is a great spectacle to watch and to be apart of. I am hopefully inspiring many other young children who have CP who may have faced adversity that anything is possible.

Impact that football has on my life: It has had a huge impact on my life. When I was younger, I really struggled with my identity and being labelled as disabled. It made me feel like the world was against me but football helped me learn to accept my disability and now I see without it I wouldn’t be where I am today.

It has also had great physical benefits as well playing mainstream football alongside CP football has really helped me combat my Cerebral Palsy, strengthening my affected muscles and helping improve my coordination and balance.

My ambition in football: My main ambition is to be successful and this can be in many different ways. I hope it is to win a major tournament but also leave my shirt in a better place, when I retire or get dropped, I hope to have set a standard and inspired the next generation to continue to be successful.

What would you say to others with CP about playing football: Give it a go! When I first started playing Pan disability football, I was very much against the idea because I played mainstream football, I didn’t want to be labelled as a person with a disability. My mum made me go and it was the best thing that has ever happened to me.

If I hadn’t gone to that session, my life would have been completely different. So, I would say give it 3 sessions because if you don’t like it you can stop going, however, if you don’t go you will never know what opportunities you might create for yourself.

 

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

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