Read the incredible story of a young man and his dream of playing international football.
Congratulations to Devon Footballers Alex Woodgates, Jamie Clewer, Ethan Lewis, Oliver Smith and George Dent who have achieved international, national and regional success in Cerebral Palsy Football! Jamie Clewer (Plymouth) and Ethan Lewis (North Devon) are part of the Regional Cerebral Palsy (CP) Talent Centre and were selected for the England Emerging Talent Camp in November 2016.
Both players are being monitored in their Regional Centres for 2017 and in the future. We also have massive congratulations to former Barnstaple FC Ability Counts Footballer, Bradley Chapman, who was selected from the Talent Camp for the England CP Development Squad. Bradley now lives in Cheltenham and continues to train there.
Oliver Smith (Exmouth) and George Dent (Plymouth) attended the County FA England Talent Day and Six Week Technical Programme at South Dartmoor Community College in 2016. Both players trialled for the Regional CP Talent Centre in September 2016 and have successfully been selected for the centre.
Lastly, Alex Woodgates has been a part of the England Cerebral Palsy Football Programme since 2013 as an England CP Development Squad player. Recently, Alex has been involved in 4-0 and 7-0 victories against Ireland and Italy respectively.
Read more about Alex’s England journey below! (Pictured Above)
"My journey into the England Development started in 2013, I still remember my manager taking me to the side after our win in the semi-finals of the Regional CP cup and telling me an England scout had noticed me and would like to invite me up to St. George's Park for a talent day. The news certainly motivated me for the final.
“After the talent day I was selected to move up into the England Development squad, it was at this point I knew I needed to put everything into my training and nutrition in order to maintain my place.
“My first camp was surreal, training at the home of England, playing on the same pitches that even some Premier League players can only hope to train on. The camp was demanding, hard work but incredible, it was what it meant to be an England player.
“During my time in the Development Squad I played in 3 tournaments. My first was a Home Nations Tournament back in early 2013. Putting on an England Shirt for the first time against Ireland was something I will never forget. I was immensely proud and the feeling to achieve a dream was incredible.
"The experience showed me that the hard work and dedication really does pay off and I knew I certainly wanted to experience more. From here I was committed to training hard, eating right and generally living my life as an England Footballer should.
“In late 2013 I had my second taste of international football with a trip to Brazil for 10 days to play in Sao Paulo for the U20's. We came away from the tournament with a Gold medal which was an amazing experience in itself but to top it off with 4 goals throughout the tournament was special, my first goals as an England player gave me a feeling which is hard to describe.
“My most recent tournament was in Ireland where we came away having won the tournament. Although I had been lucky enough for this not to be my first tournament the pride and excitement of wearing the three lions had not changed and I don't think it ever will. It has made me more focused and driven to make sure I work my hardest to ensure I get to experience many more tournaments as an England player.'
FA Disability Talent ID Programme for 2017
The FA Disability Talent Identification Programme identifies players aged 11 – 16 years with learning, sensory and physical disabilities as part of the England Disability Player Pathway for players into Regional and National Disability Teams. For the 2016/2017 season we’re recruiting players for the talent programme which is a fantastic opportunity with pathways into Regional Talent Centres and England Football teams (impairment specific) highlighted by the success of Devon Footballers in previous years above.
England Talent Day Trial Date:
Saturday 4th March 2017 (12.30pm – 3pm)
England Talent Day Training Venue:
Astro Turf, South Dartmoor Community College, Balland Lane, Ashburton, Devon, TQ13 7EW
The day is open for all children with disabilities in schools, youth leagues and the Devon Ability Counts Junior League. From the England Talent Day players will be selected for a Six Week Talent Programme, but players attending the day can also find out about local clubs and opportunities.
If you’re interested in this opportunity and would like to sign up for the England Talent Day, please complete the form at the bottom of this page. For more information, please contact Ashley Harris (Disability Talent Programme Lead Officer):
Phone: 01626 323 560 / 07912089838
If you would like to sign up to the England Talent Day in March 2017, please contact Ashley Harris on 01626 323560 or email email@example.com