Dan finds a place to enjoy his football
Albion in the Community (AITC) offers a range of opportunities for footballers with a disability, including running a number of teams that compete at a national level.
One of those sides is the Brighton & Hove Albion Amputee FC (BHAAFC). The team train at the American Express Elite Football Performance Centre and compete against similar sides from the likes of Arsenal, Everton, Portsmouth and Manchester City.
Home fixtures take place at the training ground in Lancing, but the side has also had the chance to host a number of summer friendly fixtures on the American Express Community Stadium pitch.
Dan Coppard is one of the team’s key players and is full of praise for AITC and the opportunities the charity has provided him with.
Dan, who was born without an arm below his right elbow and no left hand, as well as no left leg below the knee, explained: “When I was younger I played some sports – I used to do martial arts and played some football – but I stopped for quite a while.
“Then I got introduced to AITC and have been really enjoying it. I get so much more out of the game with what I do now and it’s really benefitted my enjoyment of sport.”
For Dan, who is an Albion fan and regular at the Amex, the chance to represent the club through BHAAFC – clearly means the world to him.
“It’s great honour to play under the badge,” he said. “I’ve taken the ball out on the Amex pitch before an Albion match – and played on it too; that’s all been down to AITC. It’s been fantastic.”
Not content with playing with BHAAFC, Dan now wants to broaden his responsibilities in the BHAAFC side and take on a new role in the coming months. He feels coaching with AITC will enable him to give something back and support people in a similar situation to himself. He recently completed AITC’s new player development programme for people with a disability.
“Every time I play I give my all and I’d like to think I’m well respected by my teammates.
“I want to play and coach and to give back to AITC. I feel like I’d be able to do that through my life and football experiences.”