Charlie aims for the England Team

Charlie's Mum Tina explains how Charlie made the Reading Powerchair FC Team

Charlie is very sporty and from a very young age he has wanted to play football for England. When he was at primary school he was part of the school football team, we were determined to let him have every opportunity  to be as involved as possible. Even though he was very wobbly, swaying lots, he became the goal keeper. It didn't matter if he wobbled and fell over he felt that's what goal keepers do, sadly as his mobility declined it was no longer safe to play. It was at that point Charlie went into his wheelchair.

He was so competitive, he thought he was unable to compete which was devastating for him. It was at that time we found a specialist school for Charlie. It took a couple of years for him finally to accept the changes in his ability but he came to understand that he would need to approach sport differently if he still wanted to compete.

He has tried Boccia, which he enjoys but we found it hard to get him classified in the regional competitions as their classification bands are much narrower than the national bands. He swims weekly at school and has a busy physio programme to follow. He was also playing chair ball at school until recently, but they changed the staff who were running it and Charlie felt the staff didn't know the rules properly so he wasn't prepared to play!

We have been looking into wheelchair football for some time. After speaking to some other parents we had reservations as to whether Charlie would make a team given the degenerative nature of A-T and knowing how competitive disabled sport is. Luckily we persevered and found a great club.

Wheelchair football is one of the fasting growing sports in the UK at the moment and up until recently there were a limited amount of clubs and only playing at national competitions. This has all changed, they now have regional leagues too so that the less experienced and lower ability are still able to compete so that everybody, male or female, has a chance of experiencing the sport.

Wheelchair footballCharlie plays for Reading Powerchair Football Club, he trains every two weeks at Lodden Valley Sports Club. They play in regional matches approximately monthly and they play nationally about 3 - 4 times a year in Nottingham.

I remember the first morning that we had arranged for him to go along to a training session, I helped him out of bed and he said "it feels like Christmas morning", he was so excited. He said "you know why I am excited, it's my dream to play wheelchair football, and maybe one day I might play for England".

I know we made the right decision letting him have a go, as much as you want to protect your children you have got to let them follow their dreams!