Para Football
Para Football

England CP star James Blackwell targeting success in World Championships this year

Friday 10 Mar 2017
England CP star James Blackwell and his squad mates are preparing for the World Championships this year

England Cerebral Palsy star James Blackwell is targeting success in 2017 with the World CP Championship being held in Argentina.

Blackwell, who appears in the new ‘For All’ campaign alongside Lionesses star Casey Stoney, has been a Three Lions regular since 2013 when he first became involved in disability football.

That step came after he got in touch with The FA when realising he would be eligible for the CP squad, after previously playing for Kingswood in his local county league in Gloucestershire where he came up against fellow CP player Ibs Diallo.

And the 30-year-old says the squad are enjoying their preparations for September’s trip to South America.

“We’ve got the World CP Championships coming up in Argentina this year, so we’re preparing for that,” said Bristol-born Blackwell.

“That’s something which I would never have imagined being involved with before I got in touch with The FA about disability football.

“We train once a month at St. George’s Park at the moment and that’s a great part of being involved in international football, being able to go there and work on the same pitches and unbelievable facilities as the senior team.

“Sometimes the seniors and U21s are at the same time and we’re all working and training on the same sort of surfaces.”

Blackwell’s involvement in the ‘For All’ campaign came about earlier this year, focusing on his remarkable story and pathway into the national team where he is now the vice-captain.

“I was approached by The FA because they know lots of my story, having CP since birth and not telling anyone about my disability to start with,” he explained.

“It was 2013 when I went to find out a bit more about it and football for people with Cerebral Palsy.

“I always thought people would have a negative view of disability football, that it wouldn’t be a very good standard, but I wanted to find out more about it

“I got in contact with The FA and it’s gone on from there really.”

The CP side will next be in action in June, with friendly games due to be announced, before they head to San Luis in Argentina for the World Championship between September 3 and 22.

By Nicholas Veevers