Teen selected to play for Northern Ireland in the Cerebral Palsy Football World Championship

Charlie Fogarty with his dad Mark, mum Sara, sister Emma and brother Tommy

Charlie Fogarty with his dad Mark, mum Sara, sister Emma and brother Tommy

Charlie Fogarty and his family are celebrating after the talented teenager was selected to play for Northern Ireland in the Cerebral Palsy Football World Championship.

Charlie’s selection means he will be one step closer to achieving his Paralympic dream when he takes part in the tournament being held in Burton-on-Trent from June 16-29.

Three years ago Charlie was a talented 15-year-old footballer who had the world at his feet, before his life was changed forever after suffering a brain injury.

At the time he had finished a four-year stint at Birmingham City FC’s Academy and was playing for Milton Keynes Dons.

Charlie was almost killed when he was struck by a car, while crossing the road. Following the accident he remained in a coma for four months and was left “helpless” when he eventually came round.

His father, Mark, a renowned football coach who has helped develop the playing talents of some of today’s top stars, gave up his job as football coach at Coventry City FC to care for Charlie.

The youngster had to learn how to walk, talk, dress, eat and perform basic tasks again.

Charlie, aged 19, has made the journey back to good health through his courage and determination, something which saw him nominated for a Pride of Birmingham award in the annual awards scheme run by the Birmingham Mail.

His ambition is to one day represent Great Britain in the Paralympics and his selection for the Northern Ireland football team brings him one step closer to his dream.

Mark Fogarty, who is now head of youth development and community officer at Solihull Moors FC, said: “Charlie’s severe brain injury and subsequent disabilities led me to want to learn as much as I could about disabled sport.

“We, as a team at Moors, have done some qualifications and developed a dynamic disability section ready to play in the Ability Counts League next season.

“I recognised that there were so many kids and adults alike out there who love football as much as anyone else and therefore we needed to make it happen for them.”

Charlie will fly over to Belfast’s Hanwood Centre to train with his team-mates before the Cerebral Palsy Football World Championship starts on June 16.

Northern Ireland have been placed in Group B which includes Russia, Canada, Australia, Holland, Portugal and Argentina.
Next season he is also set to play for Solihull Moors in the Birmingham FA’s Ability Counts League.