An inspiring youngster is on a mission to play for the England Blind Football Team
Grange Park Primary School pupil Mikey Poulli has been a lifelong football fan.
When his sight began to deteriorate at the age of seven, he was determined that wouldn’t stand in his way amd is now part of the Disability Pathway for the Football Association, with dreams of playing for England.
Mikey, 11, was diagnosed with a rare eye condition called Rod Cone Dystrophy. In Year 2 his sight began to deteriorate and by Year 3 it had reduced significantly to the extent that Mikey is now registered as blind.
However, with the support of his family, as well as his friends and teachers at Grange Park Primary School, he continued to build his skills. He was soon scouted by an England coach to be part of the Disability Pathway for the Football Association and is now pursuing his dream to play professionally for the England Blind Football Team.
His school has purchased special balls with audible bells for all sports, and all PE lessons are adapted to ensure Mikey can fully participate.
Mikey Poulli, who was recently sent a special pair of from footballing superstar Lionel Messi, said: “Playing football is my favourite thing to do in the world, and I’m so proud of everything I’ve achieved so far. It’s great to have my own space to play at school with my friends, which means I’ve been able to teach them some of the tricks I’ve learnt through training. The Euro 2020 was so exciting to watch, and I hope that one day I’ll be playing in a final for England.”
Mikey’s dad has been bringing him to Arsenal games ever since he was young, and in recent years he has met with quite a few of the players including Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette, as well as being part of and Arsenal and Adidas advert.
Tijen Hassan, headteacher at Grange Park Primary School, added: “Mikey is a true inspiration to everyone around him. He continues to show such determination and resilience wherever he goes, and he has helped both the children and adults in our school really appreciate the true meaning of perseverance.
“It has been great to see Mikey making the most of his talents and really excel. I know we’re all looking forward to seeing what the future holds!”