A budding footballer from Derby Grammar School is celebrating after winning a countywide sports award and being accepted onto a prestigious talent spotting programme.
Sixth former Freddie Lamb is a goalkeeper in the England Under-21 Cerebral Palsy team and has already represented his country at the IFCPF European Para Youth Games in Italy. He helped the team win a Gold medal in the tournament, which took place last year in Genoa, and his dream is to be selected for the England Senior Cerebral Palsy squad.
The 17-year-old has just won the Derbyshire Schools Sport and Physical Activity Award in the Individual Achievement – Inclusive category and has also been chosen to take part in the Talented Athletes Scholars Scheme at Nottingham Trent University.
Freddie said: “The FA put me forward for the scheme which is run by Sport England. Throughout the year I will receive 25 hours of strength and conditioning sessions and we will also focus on nutrition and psychology. The sessions are one on one and it’s good to look at how I can improve, I’ve already noticed the difference. I can basically choose what I want to work on.”
The talented teenager started playing football for Melbourne United when he was aged around five before moving on to the Derby County Community Trust Player Development Centre – which provides a higher level coaching opportunity for players that show signs of talent in grassroots club or school settings. He was then selected to join a centre of excellence for cerebral palsy players across the East Midlands.
Freddie’s cerebral palsy can affect his balance but he doesn’t let it affect him on the pitch. He said: “My balance isn’t great and I also have moderate to severe hearing difficulties as I was born at 24 weeks. I really enjoyed playing in Italy, I felt a real sense of pride and achievement when we won the Gold medal.
My aim is to be selected for the Senior Cerebral Palsy squad but it’s going to be tough. School has been really supportive but I have to fit my training around my schoolwork as I’m in Year 13 and studying for A-levels in Maths, Chemistry and Geography.”
Chris Whitworth, Head of PE and Games at Derby Grammar School, said Freddie was an inspiration to other students. He said: “He plays cricket and hockey for school and he just throws himself into everything he does and has always done so from a very young age. In terms of the challenges he faces he’s just not affected. He plays in goal for us in hockey and he’s so brave and very committed. He’s a great bowler in cricket and his cerebral palsy doesn’t seem to affect him on the surface, we’ve not changed the curriculum for him because he just wants to be treated like everyone else. In terms of his attitude, the world is his oyster.”