Dunstable footballer Liam Irons has been called up to represent Team GB at the Paralympics Games in Rio this summer.
The 25-year-old, who currently plays for The 61 FC (Luton) in SSML Division Two, will compete in the 7-aside football team for players with Cerebral Palsy.
Irons also plays for Saints FC on Sundays and it was there he was spotted by an opposition manager who also suffers from Cerebral Palsy.
He suggested Irons contact the national coach Jeff Davis who sent down a scout to watch before inviting him to train with the squad as until six months ago, he hadn’t even known such a team existed.
However, since the call-up, the last six months has seen a huge difference in Irons’ attitude as the former Mill Vale Middle School, Queensbury Upper and Dunstable College student said: “It has completely changed my approach to football as now I’m training six days a week which include strength and conditioning with a coach and lots of sprint and agility work
“They have also taught me to play a lot calmer and relaxed which has improved my decision making on and off the ball.”
This will be Irons’ first major competition although he has already represented the team at a pre-Paralympic tournament in Spain and scored on his debut against Ireland.
The squad meet for four days each month at St George’s Park, and on Irons, who works as a qualified green keeper at Mid Herts Golf Club in Wheathampstead, Beds FA chairman and 61 FC boss Richard Everitt said “Everybody at 61 FC are very proud of what Liam has achieved.
“It is a reward for lots of hard work and dedication which Liam has put into his game.
“We wish him well in Rio and all at 61 FC will be following the progress of Team GB with great interest.”