CP United will be back in FA People's Cup action in 2018, aiming to go one further than their runners-up spot last year.
And three members of the north-west based team were given a taste of what could be in store later this year, when they enjoyed a training session at St. George’s Park where the People’s Cup Finals will be held in April.
- First Round: 23-25 February
- Semi-Finals: 24-25 March
- Finals: 28-29 April
Twin brothers Ben and Sam Meadows were joined by team-mate Josh Power for the trip to Burton and they all gave us their take on what participation in the competition has given them.
I used to play grassroots football as a youngster, but to be honest, it wasn’t what I’d hoped for at the time.
It was with a team that got beat every week because we were just letting people have a go, so I left and just had a year away from football completely.
But then I found out about disability football in Liverpool and got myself involved and just started playing again.
From there, I found out about the great work that they’re doing at CP United with CP players from across the north-west and I haven’t looked back since.
Not only have I developed on the pitch, but it’s helped me become more confident in living my life with Cerebral Palsy.
Football has helped me fly in my social life too. I used to feel scared of talking to people, but now I’m just the opposite and I put it down to football giving me the opportunity to play.
It’s an amazing opportunity for us to come and play in the FA People’s Cup. We’ve had a tour of St. George’s Park and it was amazing, so to come here and train, it’s quality.
Competitions like the People’s Cup, both within our club and the general disability sector from our age group as adults right down to the younger groups, it’s just brilliant.
Compared to a few years ago, disability football has grown so much in terms of the age groups available and the different bands of disabilities who can now play the game.
Most of us have played football for years before, so we started off from the very bottom before we found CP United. We’ve just been playing ever since, and we can’t wait to get started again next month.
I just love football, whether it’s playing, coaching or refereeing!
Four or five years ago it was mainly playing, a lot, but I realised I probably wasn’t going to be a top, top player so I became interested in refereeing and coaching.
I enrolled on the courses and, as well as CP United, I now referee at national junior level all over the country and I do CP football as well.
I’m currently working in the northern conference of the National League and I’m hoping to go and work as an international referee too. There’s an U19 international championship tournament in Spain later this year so I’m hoping to be able to go and work there.
I get a bit of stick from the CP United lads, but you can have a laugh with the lads, they’re a great bunch and I love playing with them.
The coaching has been amazing too. I mainly do the younger groups with CP United, so the U10s and below which has been really good for me. A lot of them have moved on to the older groups and gone on to do well for their school and college.
We’ve been in the People’s Cup before, when we came second, so we’re going into this year’s competition with confidence.
To come and train at a facility like this and to experience what the high-end players have here, is an amazing opportunity for us, it’s fantastic and I just hope we can come back for the Finals.
The 2018 FA People's Cup kicks-off between Friday 23 and Sunday 25 February when the first round begins, at venues across the country.