A quartet of men’s first team players helped City in the Community celebrate the 10th birthday of its free disability football provision.
Kyle Walker, Joao Cancelo, Claudio Bravo and Daniel Grimshaw were surprise guests at a special football festival to mark the One City programme’s milestone, where its 10 disability teams came together at the CFA.
With the players taking part in five-a-side matches, training drills and penalty shootouts, participants also got the chance to ask questions and get autographs and selfies.
One power-chair football participant even had the wheel of his chair signed by Walker, who was pleased to be able to show his support for the One City programme.
“We hear a lot about the amazing community work Manchester City does and attending the football festival really showed me how important their initiatives are,” he said.
“I had a fantastic time meeting the participants and learning more about their experiences playing football.
“Everyone I met at the festival was so passionate and it was clear that ‘One City’ helps them express themselves on the pitch.
“Congratulations to City in the Community for 10 years of this great programme.”
The One City disability initiative has been running since 2009, when junior and adult pan-disability and mental health football sessions were launched.
City in the Community went on to launch a further eight disability football teams, which included, amputees, girls-only sessions, deaf, cerebral palsy, down’s syndrome and visually impaired.
And in January 2019, the dwarfism team became the 10th squad in the 10-year programme.
“We are incredibly proud to be celebrating 10 years of our ‘One City’ disability programme and to be able to provide these fun and inclusive football sessions for so many participants,” added Head of City in the Community, Mike Green.
“Having our players get involved in the festival and meet participants from all 10 teams was fantastic and everyone had a great time together.
“At City in the Community we strongly believe that football should be accessible to everyone and this initiative proves that playing sport can help people overcome obstacles and get active whilst making friends in this supportive environment.
“We can’t wait to see what the next 10 years hold for One City.”