Sports Gazette

by sports journalism students at St Mary's University, London

England Cerebral Palsy football star David Porcher scores a hat-trick against Canada

Posted on 4 May 2022 by Felipe Lima

The England Cerebral Palsy team started their journey yesterday in the 2022 IFCPF World Cup against Canada in Salou, Spain.

The Para Lions dismantled the Canadians with an 8-1 win to kick off their campaign in style.

Among the 14-men squad named by manager Andy Smith, a hat-trick from David Porcher helped the team position themselves at the top of group A.

While speaking to the Sports Gazette Porcher explained how he felt about his performance.

“I personally felt good on the pitch yesterday and was happy with my performance. Three goals and two assists, which I am delighted with. It’s a strong start to the tournament for me and the lads”.

Hat-trick Hero

Porcher’s goals came at the 7th, 14th and 55th minutes while elsewhere, you saw the Netherlands beat Venezuela 1-0 to equal England’s points after the first round of group matches.

England Cerebral Palsy has never won a medal in a World Cup but with this promising start they put themselves in a great position for achieving their first target, which is to qualify through to the next round.

Porcher is hopeful. This will be his third time lining up for England Cerebral Palsy at the IFCPF World Cup. He hopes to be third time lucky.

“Football has showed me that there are opportunities no matter where you come from, no matter what issues you may have. You can fight it and do your own thing.” explained Porcher.

In his two previous tournaments, they fell at the semi-final stage and ended up with a fourth-place finish.

“Even if it doesn’t work out at the start, don’t give up because there will always be that next chance. It happened with me.” expanded Porcher.

Porcher is hemiplegic on his right-hand side, his condition is mild but it was a rough process when growing up.

He was told numerous times to stop playing but decided he would ignore it. He zoned it out and decided to push onwards as he loved football.

Porcher’s support system

The FA has helped him with strength and conditioning among other support but his main inspirational has been his Grandad, who also pushed him to chase his dreams. Mum and Dad have also been massive in supporting him.

“Sport brings the best out of people, it makes them happy, it makes them healthy and for people who might be suffering more than others, if we can open things up to help, like the FA are doing, then it is brilliant.”

In mainstream football, Porcher played for Hibernian while living in Livingston, Scotland and most recently represented Herefield United in the south of England.

He first got involved with CP football with Scotland and first competed with GB Team at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games.

Embed from Getty Images

Since then, he has started a degree at St. Mary’s University and aims to become a PE Teacher meanwhile having also started his football coaching journey.

While juggling all of his commitments he explained how supportive everyone at St. Mary’s University has been to him.

“University has been great with me. I have been given an Extenuating Circumstances extension for one of my practical sessions and I will have time for two other assignments due in at the middle of the month,” he said.

“We have plenty of down time in between games anyway, so there are no excuses to get it all done”.

Football, a game for all

Cerebral Palsy football consists of a seven a side format. There are two halves of 30 minutes played in a smaller pitch and with no off-side rule.

Each team must have at least one player who is classified as FT1 (more severe impairments) on the field at all times and they cannot have more than one person who is class FT3 playing at any one time.

Five substitutions are permitted per 60 minutes of play and all need to be made during three replacement windows.

England Cerebral Palsy team – Image from FA website

The opportunity to express himself in CP football has been testament to Porcher resilient journey as he explains.

“To anyone considering getting involved with football, just do it. Don’t think twice. And don’t let any disability get you down,” he said.

“Try to focus on yourself, push yourself forward because there are opportunities now for everyone in football and it is only going to get bigger.

“I lost my mind a couple of times when I had those big knocks but it is how you pick yourself up from those knocks and push yourself on to try to do the best you can.”

The England Cerebral Palsy team face their next opponent Venezuela tomorrow at 11.30am (BST) and The Netherlands on Saturday at 14.30pm (BST).

“We are looking forward to the Venezuela game. We have played them before in Argentina in 2017 and they are quite a young side. I am sure they will give everything like they did against The Netherlands. We just have to focus on our game plan and not get frustrated throughout the match.”

You can watch the games live via eSports+

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