Fulham FC Foundation’s new programme will support young para talent to play for their country

Barwell-based Fulham FC Foundation has been working in partnership with the FA to deliver a Para Talent Hub in Motspur Park – Fulham FC’s training ground in New Malden.

This pathway identifies young talented para footballers, either those already playing in grassroots teams or in the Foundation’s DisAbility programmes, and furthers their individual development to help them on the journey to one day represent England on the world stage.

Lily Waters, 14, is the first Fulham player to “graduate” from this pathway to the National Emerging Talent trials for England’s Para Football teams. Lily was referred to the FA Para Talent Hub via her PE teacher who knew of her passion for football and her success with local grassroots club Doverhouse Lions in south west London.

Fulham FC Foundation’s DisAbility Development Officer Katy Shephard said: “Lily’s just come in and worked really, really hard. She’s one of those ‘hidden talents’ from the mainstream grassroots game, she comes to us for additional training, that extra bit of individual development and now she’s got that opportunity to go and represent her country.”

Lily’s mum Corrine added: “She’s very nervous but she’s very excited. Lily knows it’s a big step for her, she can’t actually wait! Lily’s been training hard, she plays every Sunday. Her dad is a coach and she plays with her little brother, so even during lockdown Lily was always playing football.”

Fulham FC Foundation CEO Mike McSweeney said he was excited to see Lily represent Fulham on the national stage: “This programme is so important to give talented athletes with a disability a genuine pathway to reach their potential. Lily’s attitude, her determination, her commitment, has all the right values that represents us as a football club and a Foundation.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity for her, she will learn and develop and hopefully this is the start of great things to come for Lily.”

For more information about Para Talent Hub or any of Fulham FC Foundation’s DisAbility programmes contact Katy Shephard at kshephard@fulhamfc.com