Blog: The Love of Football
I have played for the Isle of Man National League representative side for 10 years, traveling throughout many countries in Europe, participating in various tournaments, competing against numerous Clubs and National League representative opposition made up of a wide range of standards.
It’s always been my ambition to see our small Island, located in the Irish Sea, become a full National team. By this, I mean, in order for players to be eligible for selection they have to either have been born on the Isle of Man, or be able to demonstrate a “clear connection” to our island, be it through either their parents or grandparents.
Last year, the Manx Independent Football Association (“MIFA”), and subsequently the Ellan Vannin National team was established to give our elite players the opportunity to represent their country on a world stage. This can be achieved by exploring a number of off-Island tournaments which it could enter that are of a higher standard than those currently available to our Island-based players.
At the recent ConIFA AGM, MIFA were confirmed as one of only 12 teams based from around the world to compete in this summer’s World Football Cup, which will be held in Sweden.
I have played football now for over 20 years and there are over a million reasons why, it is in my opinion, the greatest game on earth. One of the reasons is that only last week I sat in Cologne, Germany, with Sara-Christine Dallain from California, talking about how my Island and MIFA can help a team called Darfur United get to the World Football Cup in Sweden this June.
Is there any other sport in the world which can make such connections possible?
After meeting with Sara-Christine and talking about Darfur United and the challenges their people have faced, it made me realize how lucky I am. Even though we are worlds apart, we still share one thing in common…‘The Love of Football’!
In the future, I would like to visit the refugee camps on the Chad border and gain a valuable and no doubt life-changing insight into their lives whilst also having the opportunity of sharing our different knowledge base and life experiences on “our beautiful game”.