My name is Alessio, I’m 24 years old and I play for the Cambridge united community trust (CUCT) 16+ visually impaired team, I’m also player / manager for the CUCT 16+ cerebral palsy team as well as playing for the Nottingham adults transplant football team.
I didn’t have the best start to life, I was in and out of hospital for the first few years and had a kidney transplant at the age of two, my first introduction to sport was in 2002 when I competed in the British transplant games, the games are an annual event which lets children and adults who have either donated or received an organ with the main aim is to get more people to sign up to become organ donors, I continued to go the games until 2005 and have now gone to the games every summer since 2014.
I was happy growing up and didn’t let anything stop me doing what I wanted, unfortunately my legs got tighter and tighter to the point that surgery was needed. In November 2009 I underwent reconstructive ankle surgery as well as getting my hamstrings lengthened. The recovery was long and tough, I spent three months in a wheelchair then had to learn how to walk again but gradually things got better and my mobility improved massively from where it was before the operation.
After the operation I started to fall more and more in love with football. I started playing with my brothers in the back garden, with my friends at school and started l supporting Arsenal and going to London with my dad and brothers to watch them.
Over the next few years life was pretty good, but yet again I had another obstacle to face, my transplanted kidney gradually deteriorated and I was eventually put on the transplant waiting list, amazingly it was just over a week before we got the call that a kidney was available, on the 12th November 2012 I received my second kidney transplant. So now with everything sorted nothing could stop me.
My dream was to one day play for a team of my own and just play football on a regular basis. I first found out about the Cambridge United community trust in January 2016, I emailed Phil Mullen who runs the sessions. He invited me to come along and I haven’t looked back since, as I went to more and more sessions I found my football improving, I made more and more friends and my responsibility within the group increased now gaining my level 1 coaching qualification and enjoying my current roles of player / manager for the CP team as well as helping organise and promote the VI team as best as I can.
I’m really proud of what I’ve achieved in life so far and especially in football, to play for 3 impaired specific teams, to help start the CP team from the ground up and compete in our first ever season as well as meet a lot of amazing people.
My next steps are to go back to impairment specific training sessions in order to hopefully return to league matches next season and just generally to keep enjoying football and continue my playing and managerial journey