Blackpool boys star for England in amputee football
Two footballers, each with only one foot, jetted to Poland as key players with the England Under-16s amputee team.
Jamie Oakey, 13, and Theo Ball, 11, faced players from across Europe at the European Amputee Football Federation’s training camp in Warsaw.
Jamie lives on Beech Avenue, Blackpool, and his mum Elaine Oakey said: “He has been training since he was eight.
“Getting him into football clubs when he was little was quite difficult because he was born with only one foot.
“Someone came up to us and said, ‘Have you heard about amputee football?’
“It just went from there and they’re really good. ”
Jamie, who plays defence, trains four days a week at Manchester City FA, at the Lancashire FA’s Leyland headquarters and Blackpool FC.
Jamie said: “We play on crutches. To be a goalkeeper for the team you have to have one arm.
To play as an outfield player you have to have a leg or a foot missing.
“If the ball touches your crutch, that’s a ‘hand ball’.
“It’s difficult at first but after a few months training you start to get used to it.”
Mum Elaine added: “They are definitely in with a chance. It’s about equality. Every single child will be treated exactly the same.”
Theo, who lives on Rosebery Avenue, South Shore, joined the England team in January.
His mum Jennifer Ball, said: “It’s such an opportunity for these youngsters and it’s something you think they wouldn’t be able to do.
“Theo has been horseriding and swimming but we had never heard of amputee football until we found out about this.
“It’s growing in popularity and it’s a very exciting game.”