Published 15 July 2022 4 min read
England Para Teams

'Football will always bring us together'

Written by:

Dylan Malpas

In the latest of our collaboration series with Goal Click, England men's blind team goalkeeper Dylan Malpas shares some of his snaps from time on the road with the Para Lions

SEE MORE: ENGLAND FOOTBALL x GOAL CLICK

My name is Dylan Malpas and am originally from Birmingham.

I live in Hereford where I am a teacher of sport at the Royal National College for the Blind (RNC) alongside being the fully sighted goalkeeper for the England Blind football team.

My football journey started in the garden with my dad at the age of three before joining my first club at five, Marston Green. I joined the club as a striker, but I quickly realised that my passion was diving in the mud and trying to keep the ball out the net instead of trying to score. Since that moment, I've never looked back and have been proud to be part of the goalkeepers’ union.

Football is a rollercoaster, and my journey has been no different. I have experienced the highs, lows, and everything else inbetween at all stages in my career.

The key to longevity for me is self-motivation and having positive energy, which enables consistency and love for football, no matter the situation. My career high is winning the Best Goalkeeper in the World (2018) and twice being named Best Goalkeeper in Europe (2019, 2022).
The England men's blind squad enjoy dinner out in Argentina
The England men's blind squad enjoy dinner out in Argentina

My photos were taken of the England Blind football team across a two-month period and is a mixture of a tournament in Argentina, friendlies against India, and the holding camp before the EUROs. I tried to show a range of opportunities that I'm fortunate to have had thanks to being in my position.

I wanted to show my teammates, the staff and the journey we experience together. You can see the togetherness and the enjoyment we have playing the sport of blind football, which we all love and are so passionate about.

One photo is of the younger lads in the changing room after beating India, as it captures the future and why we all need play the game. These young players have the hunger and desire to play and are enjoying every minute of wearing the Three Lions.

Travelling the world playing football and competing for our country is a great honour and the fact we can do this together is why, in my opinion, team sports are the best.

The lads getting ready for work on a training trip
The lads getting ready for work on a training trip

When I joined the squad eight years ago, I never thought I would have 94 caps for my country so I am grateful for everyone who has been part of that journey.

To be able to look back on everything at the end of my career will be fantastic. Football is for all and no matter your journey, barriers or troubles, football will always bring us together. Football is a common ground for male and female, people with disabilities, and children.

Playing for the England Blind team has changed my life, my outlook, and provided me with so many opportunities. It is a privilege to be the goalkeeper for the England Blind team and something that will impact me forever.

Winning the treble last year with RNC has created a fantastic relationship with local business and Hereford FC, which has been great for the growth of our sport. The community in Hereford are thoroughly behind everything we do with England and RNC.

I want to enjoy every minute I have competing and playing football. I try not to look too far ahead but just enjoy the process of training, competing and giving everything to become the best goalkeeper for our team. 

Back at St. George's Park for training
Back at St. George's Park for training
Outside of my family, football has been the most consistent thing in my life. It is everything to me and always will be. It has given me so much and I cannot wait to give all that back to the next generation.

Blind football is only growing in our country and across the world. The future of blind football in England is positive, with so many young players now engaging in football.

The opportunities for all abilities to play will enable more players to fall in love with the sport and have a positive experience playing blind football.

The benefits of playing blind football are endless – the friendships that you create, the impact it can have on your health and well-being, and the opportunities to compete at a variety of levels.
Goal Click x Dylan Malpas
For me, football is about focusing on the process and not the destination and outcomes.

The reason why I play is because I love the game and that's why we all should participate in sport. With hard work, dedication, and passion your dreams and aspirations are possible.

Just like me, it might just change your life.
Saving penalties is a big part of my role in the team
Saving penalties is a big part of my role in the team

SEE MORE: ENGLAND FOOTBALL x GOAL CLICK