England Football x Goal Click: Nathan Mattick

I studied for a BTEC in Sports Science (Level Two and Three) at the National Star College. Before I became a student, I had the opportunity to visit the university with my parents. I was able to talk to the Sports Department and explained my dream of becoming a soccer referee. I set out to see if I could become a referee.

When I went to college, I knew I wanted to be a referee. However, some people doubted me and said that I could not be a referee because of my disability and being a wheelchair user. This upset me, but I was determined to achieve my dream.

When I became a student I contacted the local FA but got no response so the sporting department contacted the FA for me and arranged a course at the university. In 2013, my dream came true and I qualified as a referee. I became the first wheelchair user to qualify as a football referee in the UK!

A big challenge that I have had to face as a wheelchair user and referee is the weather. When it rains and it’s cold, I have to be very careful, as electricity and water don’t go well together.

Once, when I was refereeing a tournament, it was raining and the conditions were getting worse and worse. My chair came to a complete stop, even though it had enough charge. I had to be pushed off the pitch in a taxi to get home and my chair controller had to be replaced because it was too wet.

To overcome these challenges, I make sure to always referee on a 4G pitch and if the weather is not good, I usually have someone take over so I can get my chair to a safe area while it’s up and running. Once the conditions improve, I will referee again.

See also  Argentina vs Jamaica live score, updates, highlights and World Cup warm-up friendly line-ups

There have been so many highlights and brilliant opportunities in my career so far, for which I am very grateful. From refereeing my first match as a qualified referee to meeting and learning from referees at all levels and serving on the board of the Referees Association.

These photos show the Gloucestershire Ability Counts League tournament in Bristol, a football league for the disabled that I regularly referee. Other photos were taken at an English football league match at Cheltenham Town FC, the team I currently volunteer for on match days as a program salesman.

Arbitration has had a huge positive impact on my life. It has helped me improve my communication skills, teamwork skills and has given me more confidence. Football has helped me in good and bad times. It also helps with my mental health.

It has allowed me to be a part of the game I love and I am so grateful for the support I have received from everyone.

I plan to continue refereeing for a long time and as long as I can, and maybe referee in different leagues. I won’t be retiring anytime soon!

I want to continue sharing my story and look for a part-time job in soccer. My ambition is to be a public address announcer in a football stadium.

I think people with disabilities can still do a lot of things, maybe we’ll do it a little differently. People with disabilities can get involved in football, whether as coaches, referees, volunteers, or as reporters or television presenters.

The future of football for the disabled is bright because more people with disabilities are playing football. In my community there is also the possibility of a Youth Ability Counts league, which is great news as it will allow more young people with disabilities to play this sport.

See also  10 Reasons We Can't Wait To Get Our Hands On The 2023 Honda Civic Type R

However, more needs to be done to spread the word about disabled football as I think a lot more people should know about it. We should tell more match officials about handicap leagues so they know they can also referee handicap football.

For anyone with a disability, I encourage you to get involved.

Doors could open for you; You never know how many opportunities may come your way. If you don’t try, you never know.

Leave a Comment