The British Paralympic Association (BPA) has announced the 14 athletes who will compete for ParalympicsGB in football 7-a-side at Rio 2016.
All but two of the team members make their Paralympic debut; just former Everton FC Academy player Michael Barker and Scottish veteran Jonathan Paterson return from the London 2012 Paralympics and both will compete in their third Games.
Among the new players are former Birmingham City FC player Jack Rutter and Sean Highdale who previously played for Liverpool FC and also represented England at Under-16s level. Both The squad also features former Tranmere Rovers forward Ollie Nugent, who currently plays for Chester FC.
The ParalympicsGB team will be drawn from several of the home nations, with players from the English, Scottish and Northern Irish squads - many who competed internationally for their home nations at recent World and European Championships.
Rutter, captain of the team and one of the faces of the ‘Supercharge ParalympicsGB’ campaign to galvanise public support for the team, said:
“There is no greater honour than to represent your country on the international stage and it’s a proud moment for me today to be announced as captain of this team of outstanding players.
“We’ve come together to create a really competitive force and we believe we’re up there with the best teams in the world. We’re going out to Rio to make everyone back at home proud, and I hope the nation will Supercharge the team to some truly memorable performances.”
Paterson, who first made his Paralympic debut in Beijing, said:
“This will be my third Paralympic Games and I don’t think we’ve ever been stronger. The amount of progress we’ve made throughout this cycle has been impressive, and it’s great to have new faces on the team who have created greater strength in depth. I can’t wait to step on to the pitch for the first time in Rio.”
Penny Briscoe Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE), ParalympicsGB Chef de Mission for Rio 2016, said:
“This is a fantastic and talented group of players and I’d like to pay credit to all of the home nations for the excellent work they have undertaken to identify new talent and to bring them through to compete on the international stage.
Jeff Davis, Team Leader, said:
“I am really proud to lead these players as we prepare to compete at the Rio Paralympics, it’s a fantastic opportunity to showcase this sport and I believe their hard work will pay dividends at the Games. The top teams are incredibly competitive and there will be no easy matches, but we feel ready to take on the challenge.”
Selected athletes (football 7-a-side)
Sport fans from around the world can now buy their Paralympic tickets for Rio 2016 from authorised ticket resellers (ATRs)
The IPC’s Global ATR is Jet Set Sports, and Rio 2016 tickets and packages can be purchased on the CoSport website.
Residents of Brazil can buy 2016 Paralympics tickets directly from the Rio 2016 website.