Published On: Wed, Jan 29th, 2014 on 11:48 pm

Inspiring Sohail Rehman lives his coaching dreams

Sohail Rehman Coach

Sohail Rehman (middle) with Grange Technology pupils and school staff

Sohail Rehman Coach

(l-r) Year Director for Year 8 Ridwana Wallace-Laher, Kainaat Shafiq, Sakib Arshad, with Sohail Rehman (front)

Sohail Rehman CoachSohail Rehman Coach

Sohail Rehman is one of the world’s first wheelchair-bound qualified football coaches and despite being in a wheelchair, he is committed to helping others by coaching football.

The 21-year-old from Keighley was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy by the age of 13 that forced him into a wheelchair.

But Mr Rehman was determined not to let the condition push him out of the game and now currently coaches Manchester United’s Under 15’s team, as well as offering coaching sessions around Yorkshire.

His most recent trip was to the Grange Technology College in Bradford on 24 January where he coached pupils in football and showed them the arts of kicking, dribbling, passing and teamwork.

Passionate Mr Rehman shared his story of inspiration with the Yorkshire Standard.

He said: “I was really into sports as a kid, but at a young age I was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy which is a spinal disability. But I was always active, I could walk around, play football and plays sports with everyone.

“But getting into the teenage years I could feel myself getting weaker. I didn’t really think much of it at the time.”

Feeling increasingly weaker, Mr Rehman played football for around 40 to 50 minutes, and would have to stop playing.

After taking part in various health tests, specialists said that in two weeks time, he’d be wheelchair-bound.

His confidence had been knocked back upon hearing of the news and he sometimes felt isolated not being able to take part in sports, sometimes using his time catching up on work.

But his character changed after he gained support from coaches, who encouraged him to complete a sports development course for six months where he obtained his Level 1, 2 and 3 FA coaching badges.

Thankful Mr Rehman said: “With the help of others, I think I got that needed push at the age of 15. Now I do two sessions a month at Manchester United which is unbelievable. I would say to anyone that if you like what you do, then just go for it.”

A devoted Manchester United fan, Mr Rehman was shocked when he recently received a letter from the club’s former manager Sir Alex Ferguson who praised his work and congratulated him on his FA coaching badges, giving him the encouragement to become a full-time coach.

In his letter, he wrote: “I am writing to congratulate you on passing your coaching badges and becoming a qualified football coach. It never ceases to amaze me the enthusiasm and effort people put into the game and more importantly in giving their time.

“May I take this opportunity to wish you all the best for the remainder of the season. Well done!”

About the Author

Hasan Faridi

- Hasan is the founder and editor-in chief of the Yorkshire Standard. A BA Hons graduate from the University of Huddersfield, he has over four years of experience in newspapers, magazines and radio.

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