Eesa Lives His Dream: Playing Blind Football for England

A young man in a blue football top with a red emblem of England's 3 lions. He's in a park..

Eesa’s Dream

Eesa is 18 and has Leber’s Congenital Amaurosis (LCA), a rare eye condition that has left him mostly blind since birth. While he has some limited light perception and adapts to his surroundings using tools like a screen reader and a white cane for navigation he has, with the help of RSBC and its partners, become a full England Blind Footballer and took part in last summer’s World Blind Games.

Discovering Blind Football: A Dream Come True

Eesa has always loved football, even before he discovered that blind football existed. He would play with his sighted friends in the school playground, using a regular football, and did his best to join in and be a part of the game.
He had always dreamed of playing football at a high level but didn’t know that it was even possible. So, from the moment he was introduced to blind football at school, he was hooked – and hasn’t looked back since.

Access Unlimited: Support and Opportunities

It was through RSBC’s partnership with the Albion Foundation, under the RSBC Access Unlimited Project, funded by the National Lottery, that Eesa gained continued support playing blind football. His involvement with Access Unlimited has been instrumental in his football journey. The programme provided him with the opportunity to continue playing football in a supportive and enjoyable environment, helping him to build confidence both on and off the field.

Eesa believes that Access Unlimited gives young people confidence and offers them a fun environment to try out different sports. He believes that the support he received from the programme has not only helped him develop as an athlete, but also as a person.

The Impact of Blind Football on Eesa’s Confidence 

When asked about the effect that playing blind football has had on him, Eesa replied:

“Before I started the programme, I found it difficult to communicate, but now my overall confidence has improved. I think being a part of it, and meeting and really getting to know and talk to different people, is probably the biggest thing that I took away from it. Even the coaching that was provided helped me develop in my sport. And the social aspect helped me to gain a lot of confidence; speaking to people, and being around them.”

As well as boosting Eesa’s confidence, blind football as also played a significant role in helping him to develop his resilience.

Richard Henderson, the Disability Sport Coordinator at the Albion Foundation, remembered how Eesa was when he first met him:

“Eesa started at the Foundation before I was here. When I came to meet him, I do remember a quiet lad who supported Manchester United! So just for fun, we used to give him a little bit of a ribbing about supporting them. And every now and then Eesa would come out of himself and be the one to start the banter. Now, he’s one of the first people to have a little bit of banter and call me out. In some of our sessions he’d want me to do certain challenges where I had to do press ups and stuff like that. So that’s good!”

And on the subject of resilience, Richard said:

“Blind football is one of those sports where often players do something and it can go wrong. We’ve quite often seen players beat themselves up in that moment. And if that happens, then the picture changes, and suddenly we’re conceding goals. Whereas I would actually vouch for Eesa’s resilience, because only this weekend we had our blind football fixtures where, if we’ve lost a ball in a certain area, or Eesa’s gone for a dribble and has been tackled, it’s not even a second before he’s back up again. And he’s back into position, and he’s straightaway listening. Eesa’s resilience is brilliant. That’s one of his assets, I would say.”


Eesa’s hard work and dedication have paid off – he’s scored twenty goals this season for the West Bromwich Albion (WBA) blind football team, his current team. His most memorable goal came during a crucial game, helping his team secure a much-needed point and retain their league position. In addition to playing for WBA, Eesa also plays in the European Blind League playing against teams across Europe.

Dreaming Big for the Future: Paralympics and Career Goals

Eesa’s future plans include competing in the Paralympics for England and pursuing a career in computer science. His journey so far is a testament to his determination and resilience, and he encourages other young people who are blind to pursue their passions and try out different sports.

Final Thoughts

Eesa’s story is an inspiring example of how determination, tenacity, and support can help someone overcome challenges and achieve their dreams. His involvement with Access Unlimited and blind football has not only enhanced his sense of identity and strength, but also opened up new opportunities and experiences that he once thought were out of reach.

When asked what advice he’d give to young people who are blind or partially sighted and are interested in pursuing sports, Eesa replied:

“I think even if you don’t have the correct facilities or the correct equipment, just get involved in the sport that you love. Hopefully, eventually, you’ll be picked up by the correct organisations and you’ll be able to pursue your sport in a professional way. I think the biggest thing is just to go for it!”


Some snippets from Eesa’s Journey

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