Jordan Williams, 17 from Hatfield in Hertfordshire and Balder electric wheelchair owner, has been selected for the England powerchair football squad following several years of success in the sport.
Jordan began playing powerchair football at the age of 10. Jordon has Muscular Dystrophy, which is a degenerative condition that affects his muscles, causing increased mobility difficulties over time and an inability to stand. Jordon is dependent on his cutting-edge Balder electric wheelchair to remain mobile at home and school. His has just taken delivery of his second model and selected a ‘Subaru’ blue body shell to make an eye-catching statement to friends. Jordon’s F280 powered wheelchair gives him the ability to drive around independently and achieve a variety of positions through an electrically adjustable seat and leg rests. Designed and manufactured in Scandinavia by Etac, a world-leading assistive technology specialist, this compact and ergonomic Balder electric wheelchair is a popular choice across the UK for young individuals living with severe disabilities.
When playing powerchair football, Jordon transfers into a larger, rugged sports electric wheelchair that is specifically designed for the game. The Wheelchair Football Association (WFA) are the governing body for Powerchair Football and work closely with the Football Association (The FA), who run the National Team. There are 50 clubs playing across the UK with a National League, WFA Cup and regional competitions taking place on a regular basis. Each 40-minute game involves teams of eight players competing against one another. These players regular substitute with one another, with a maximum of four members from each team on the pitch at any one time. They use their powerchairs, with specialist ‘bumper’ attachments fixed to the front, to control and pass an oversized 330mm football and score goals. This sport is high-speed and requires specialist tactics to win – Jordon’s team Aspire, based in Watford, regularly prove their prowess and are currently second in the Premiership league.
As Jordon plays for one of the top UK teams and has been so successful in the league and various competitions, he was talent scouted by the England national side. Jordan had been a rising star for many years and scored the winning goal in the 2014 WFA Cup final. Following a call-up from Colin Gordon, the England head coach, Jordan has just attended his first training weekend at the FA’s National Football Centre in Burton-on-Trent. Jordon said: “This is a dream come true for me. Ever since I started playing powerchair football I have wanted to be part of the national team. It’s great for me that my Aspire club captain/manager, John Bolding, is also the England team captain as I really enjoy playing alongside him. Training at St. George’s Park, was an awe-inspiring experience for me and I am so excited to be part of preparations for the next FIFPA World Cup in 2016.”
Jordan continued: “I may have a specialist sports powerchair for playing football, however I know my success would not have been possible without my Balder. This amazing product and its Etac tie-down system has allowed me to travel to games in my family’s adapted Chrysler with no hassle for my Dad. My F280 also helps me achieve greater independence on a day-to-day basis, which is especially important at school. It is a common choice for many powerchair footballers when not on the pitch as it is so compact and comfortable when compared to the rugged and bulky sports wheelchairs. I first discovered these amazing Balder powered wheelchairs when visiting the Mobility Roadshow in 2009. My parents and I have tried and tested all the other competitor chairs but nothing comes close to the Balder from Etac. I love my latest model that has a jet-black seat and ‘Subaru’ blue bodywork, it’s cool. Its manoeuvrability is great at school and I can easily position myself under desks during lessons – I found this was not possible with other electric wheelchairs. This latest Balder also has a new gyroscope built-in for amazing stability on uneven ground, its really clever.”
Sam Bull, WFA National Development Manager said: “It’s great to see players like Jordan who started as youngsters, progress and be rewarded for their hard work and dedication to our sport. Powerchair Football provides a great social outlet and it is vitally important players work with specialist like Etac to ensure they have access to the best equipment on and off the pitch.”
Ian Carter, Etac UK Managing Director concluded: “We would like to congratulate Jordon on his England call-up, he fully deserves this opportunity. Jordon and his family are valued Balder customers and we are delighted to hear how our powerchair makes their lives easier, especially when attending powerchair football competitions across the UK. Good luck at the World Cup Jordan!