Words by Colette Carr
Following celebrating a second English Amputee Championship title in a row, Everton’s Amputee side were given a heroes welcome to training base USM Finch Farm by Everton and Republic of Ireland captain Seamus Coleman.
The Everton in the Community disability ambassador met with EitC disability manager and Everton Amputee player Steve Johnson at the first team training facility to lead the side and put Coleman through his paces.
Coleman suffered a horror leg break in the Republic of Ireland’s World Cup qualifier against Wales ruling him out of Ireland’s qualifying campaign and Everton’s domestic season for a lengthy period.
But the international admitted he looked back on his own time out of the game differently after hearing from each player how they got involved in the amputee game before taking part in a training session and a game on crutches that drew the attention of his teammates Tom Davies, Cuco Martina and Cenk Tosun.
“It was a humbling experience – being on the crutches really is hard on the upper body,” Coleman told.
“Massive respect to the participants today, I know what it is like to come back from long-term injury and people talk about how mentally strong you have to be to come back but it’s days like this that make you realise that it is ever so minor, these lads have lost limbs for different reasons and they are all here enjoying the opportunity they have of playing football with an Everton crest on their chests.
“We all need to take a massive lesson from them, they are an inspiration.”
Everton in the Community’s disability manager Steve Johnson added: “Everton are known as ‘the People’s Club’ and this is an example of how connected the Club is with its local community.
“Everton Amputee FC are top of the league at the moment and it’s great to let the first team players know about different disability teams and the progress they are making. I know the participants have really enjoyed the session and sharing their experiences with the players and vice-versa.
“Seamus, Cenk, Tom and Cuco found out how hard and demanding amputee football can be. Football is an international language, but it is also a game shared by people with different abilities.”