CP United, a fully inclusive football team for players with Cerebral Palsy, dominated domestically this past season. Then, they turned their sights to the international stage — and they won there too.
It was quite the spring for the CPUFC adult squad.The team from Partington, greater Manchester, finished May with a Double; they first took home the FA Disability Cup, beating the Chelsea Whites for the second year in a row, before being crowned CP National League champions just two weeks later.
Then, in June, came the chance to win a treble when CP United took the field — in Barcelona, Spain — to play for the 12th International CP Football Trophy. They faced a team from Jordan in the first round, whom they took down in a rousing 4-1 victory. And it only got better for them from there; the next two days, they beat both the Austrian side and the Irish side 6-0 to finish top of their group.From there they advanced to the final, where they were set to face tournament favorites Chile in 30-degree Spanish heat. But nothing had gotten in their way all season, and this would not be the first time; they defeated Chile 2-1 and took home their 3rd trophy of the season.
But even though CPUFC made the tournament itself seem easy, getting there was not.CPUFC is a self-funded club — without even a kit sponsor — which means that there are not readily available funds to travel to international tournaments. And now that they're International Champions, they've been receiving invitations to play in tournaments all around the world — not all of which they'll be able to fund through sponsored 12-hour bike rides, as they did to get themselves to Spain.Yet football is something hugely important to their lives, and these opportunities are those they might've thought they'd never have. As Josh, one of the CPUFC adult team players, puts it: "The club...help our lads conquer our disabilities and escape from our difficult lives with cerebral palsy."And they deserve to have all the opportunities to do so that they can.If you'd like to make a donation to CPUFC, who have training sessions for adults and children of all ages, abilities, experience, gender, mobilities or CP classification, you can contact the club via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.