I have built up some great experiences over the years within both mainstream football and Disability/Para Football.
I started my journey playing within mainstream football from the age of 6, attending soccer schools at a local grassroots club which included players from my primary school. By having the opportunity to be a part of a team from a young age, it supported me with my social interaction and physical needs.
From Under 6 to Under 16, I had to challenge myself to compete with other players who didn’t have any physical disability needs, like myself. To an outsider, this could have put me in a disadvantaged position however, it allowed me to reach a good playing standard for the league we competed in at mainstream level. Around this time, my brother Richard Kay, who also suffers from mild Cerebral Palsy had a Regional COE Trial for Nottinghamshire which he was selected for. My family and I decided to go and support him and whilst doing so, we realised there was also an Under 16s team. We weren’t sure if it was specifically Invite Only, but my brother asked the head coach if I could join in for the last 15/20 minutes of the session and from then on, the rest is history.
I got into the Regional team set up, then within my first set of fixtures for the Regional COE, I was selected to be a part of the next England Development squad. Within the space of a few months, I then progressed towards the England Senior squad at the age of 16. From then, I was able to cement my place in the team and since have played in a European Championship, World Cup’s and the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games across 9 years and I am still involved in the team set up today.
I have had a few barriers to overcome throughout my journey. I felt anxious to return to mainstream football because I was worried about other people opinions and comments about how I walk, run or even pass the ball so I had to find a way where I could play football but be around local football and the community too.
At this moment in time, I play local casual football and coach several sessions across the county. Coaching has been a real game changer for my life, allowing me to build up the confidence to share my knowledge to the next generation of players. I am now hoping to expand the exposure of inclusion football across Cambridgeshire and to help offer the support and opportunity for anyone and everyone to play football, be active and have fun!