How This Teen With Cerebral Palsy Made Sports History Without Joining a Team

Nathan Mattick has always loved soccer.

The 19-year-old from Cheltenham, England, dreamed of one day playing on a team, but because he has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair, playing for one of England’s club teams wasn’t possible, according to The BBC.

So, Mattick set out to get involved with his favorite sport in another way — he decided to become a soccer referee.

“I looked at the referees [on TV] and I thought, ‘Well, I’m in a wheelchair, but why can’t I do it?‘” Mattick told the BBC in a video.

Mattick’s next step was to contact the sports department at National Star College in Cheltenham, England, where he goes to school. He then got in touch with Gloucestershire Football Association where he completed a course and began training.

Now, Mattick is the first person who uses a wheelchair to become a certified soccer referee in the U.K., Mirror reported. The teen is qualified to officiate both indoor and outdoor games with able-bodied athletes as well as athletes with disabilities.

“My motto is, disabled people can still do exactly what able-bodied people can do, but in a slightly different way,” Mattrick says in the video below from SWNS News in the U.K. “I hope disabled people can get engaged in something they’ve always loved to do. Go ahead with it, you can still do it.”

Learn more about Mattick’s story in the video below.

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