Rory Bentley: CP Can

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Struggling to fit in can be a common occurrence for those with a disability, especially when it comes to sporting environments.

It was no different for Rory Bentley, 15, who found that from a young age the competitive nature of football was a priority over his inclusion.

“I had difficulties getting into my mainstream football club,” Rory said. “I was only allowed to play for the last 5 minutes of a match once the outcome had already been determined, or in games that weren’t of any importance.”

Rory first started engaging with Saints Foundation almost four year ago through our SaintsAbility open access sessions.

“I saw an article in the local newspaper about how Saints Foundation had a team participating in an international disability tournament, so I decided to contact them directly to see how I could get involved.”

“Until recently, I only attended the open access sessions with Saints Foundation, but I now play in their Pan Disability League and have been selected to be part of the Foundation’s Regional Talent Hub.”

Saints Foundation’s Regional Talent Hub is an advanced coaching platform for young footballers who are deaf, blind or have cerebral palsy, which aims to get players into mainstream football, as well as onto the England disability pathway.

“The next step on from the Regional Talent Hub is the Emerging Talent Programme, which I am also now a part of.”

“Ultimately, all these pathways lead to selection for the specific disability national squads, and that’s what I’m aiming for.”

“My aspirations right now are to just continue developing within the Foundation’s Regional Talent Hub and wider England talent pathway.”

“I want to keep playing football to the best of my ability, and also look into other aspects of the game like refereeing and coaching. I’ve had the opportunity to meet some amazing people and train at fantastic venues like St George’s Park, so I can’t wait to carry on.”

To find out more about opportunities Saints Foundation provide for those with cerebral palsy, please contact Rob Pearce at rpearce@saintsfc.co.uk.

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