Published 18 August 2022 4 min read
Disability Football

'Football is everything to me'

Written by:

Simon Collinson

Amputee footballer Simon Collinson tells his story and showcases his football photography skills in the latest of our collaboration with Goal Click

ENGLAND FOOTBALL x GOAL CLICK

My name is Si Collinson and I'm from Colchester in Essex.

I lost my leg after an accident while serving with the Army overseas in Canada. Since then, I have taken up amputee football and after three years with West Brom I am now playing for Chelsea this coming season. I am also now in the England National Development team for amputee football.

I have been in and around football all my life - playing, watching and coaching, as I have my FA Level 2 coaching badge. Before my accident, growing up I played for Billericay Town, and various Saturday and Sunday teams in the areas I was living. In the Army I served in the Household Cavalry as a Reconnaissance Soldier.

My football journey on the amputee side started by chance when I started Googling my options while in hospital after my leg was removed in May 2019.

I found the EAFA (England Amputee Football Association) website and sent them a message. They put me in touch with Peterborough United Amps and the rest is history. I played my first game of amp football in October 2019.
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The two biggest barriers have been the first step in actually having the confidence to try amputee football and the fitness at the upper reaches of the game was a shock. It has been hard graft to get there.

I took photos from a mixture of places - national team training, West Brom training and matches, along with some of my individual training.

I wanted to show a mixture of my teammates, all of whom are inspiring as they have overcome so much to just step on the pitch. Mark Smith is not only a teammate at Chelsea, but also now a friend who has taken the time to help me improve and develop. It's people like Mark that help people achieve all they can.

Amputee football is not just a kick about, but a highly competitive environment that is taken seriously. But it's fun at the same time. Being in a football team helps us all mentally, not just physically.
Goal Click x England Football: Simon Collinson
Football plays a massive role in our community. It is a game that is open to all and allows all your cares to vanish either on the pitch or in the stands for as long as the game lasts. I know for myself it is the one thing, other than my family, that has got me through my injury issues, including looking after my mental health.

Football is everything to me. It is second only to my wife and children.

It has been great to come out of an environment like the Army to a football dressing room that has a similar outlook and a group all striving to achieve the same thing. With my England call-up I have been given an opportunity that I never dreamed of, and it gives me motivation to push on even more and prove I am good enough to have the chance.

My ambition is to get the chance to represent my country at a major tournament.
Goal Click x England Football: Simon Collinson
Amputee football is growing, with more being done to highlight the opportunities out there. BT Sport have started to show the FA Disability Cup Finals on their channels and hopefully more games will be included going forward.

If I could change one thing, it would be for more clubs to have an amputee team and open the door to more players who may not even know this type of football is out there.

I want to inspire the next generation. My story shows that even after a big life-changing event there are doors that will open if you are willing to take the plunge. Sport is for all and no matter your situation, there is always something that will help you mentally and physically. Who knows where the road will take you once you take that first step.

Everyone must start somewhere and if I can do it, anyone can. It is just a case of time and practice.
Goal Click x England Football: Simon Collinson