Aaron Lucas: From discovering CP football at 25 to representing England Cerebral Palsy at the World Cup
'Playing for your country is a dream come true and as a little boy, you would never think this would be possible. Being here and representing England really is a dream'
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I’m Aaron Lucas and I play for the England Cerebral Palsy team and also Sutton United’s disability team.
I grew up in south London, the Croydon area, and played little league and Sunday league football growing up. I loved playing football as a kid and would play anywhere I could. As I got older, I improved as a player and took the sport more seriously.
I was part of the England squad in 2018 but missed out on going to the 2019 World Cup in Seville so I worked hard and managed to secure selection for the World Cup in 2022.
Being selected was overwhelming. Not only me but my family and friends had wanted it for so long so to get selected after all the hard work was great. I was over the moon to go.
I didn’t actually know anything about CP football growing up! Then in 2018 I went to watch my cousin play and one of the old England goalkeepers was down there and saw me walking so he came over and said: ‘You are one of me!’
I replied: ‘What do you mean by that?’ He said: ‘You’ve got CP. You should go down to West Ham Foundation and play there’.
I turned up to West Ham and one of the coaches Lyndon said: ‘You should go for a trial at England’.
I was like this is all a bit too much because I had only just got into it and was on my first trial there. But I went to St. George’s Park and the coach Andy Smith saw something in me and I have been here ever since.
It all came so quickly. I started playing at West Ham and then a week later I went for the England trial and that was it.
I was 25 at the time so I found CP football late and I am absolutely gutted to be honest. I would have loved to have been here when I was 18 and playing mainstream football.
It is a shame I found it so late but I enjoy my time with England so much and with CP football, you do have years to play it. You can keep playing until you are 36 or 37 because CP football is about knowing the game of itself. You could be a good ‘footballer’ but if you don’t know how to play CP football, then you won’t be successful.
It is like a game of chess and it is about having the knowledge of how to play CP football itself so hopefully, I will keep developing and be here for years to come yet.
Playing for your country is a dream come true and as a little boy, you would never think this would be possible. Being here and representing England really is a dream.
It is crazy. We had a conversation in the last camp and we were asked ‘what do you think about when you go away from camps?’ For me, I don’t stop thinking about it.
I work so hard to get on the plane for competitions like the World Cup and it is a surreal feeling.
I would love people in general but in kids in particular to know more about CP football. We want kids to know about all the avenues they can explore.
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