1091. Steve Johnson
Steve Johnson, from Southport, is a three-time World Cup winning amputee footballer who has been the driving force behind the growth of the sport in the UK for over 30 years.
Passionate about football from a young age, Steve continued to play after his leg was amputated following an accident at the age of 21, receiving 130 international caps for the England Amputee football team and was named World Amputee Footballer of the Year in 1999.
Steve has drawn on his experience as a player to lead the ‘England Amputee Football Association’, a charity which supports individuals with amputations of limb deficiencies to participate in playing football regardless of ability, age or gender. The charity runs an elite performance pathway to support players in reaching national level, as well as a national league of eight professional clubs across England, in which 100 players regularly participate. Steve is also actively involved in promoting the sport internationally and gaining sponsorship from corporate partners to fund the league.
In addition to his work with the ‘England Amputee Football Association’, Steve has led the disability programme at Everton in the Community since 2003 and has shaped the programme into one of the most respected in Europe, providing football and physical activity opportunities for thousands of disabled children and adults each year.
Steve was officially presented with his ‘Points of Light’ award at half-time of Everton’s FA Cup tie against Lincoln City by Everton Football Club CEO Denise Barrett-Baxendale and Everton in the Community CEO Richard Kenyon, at Goodison Park, home of Everton Football Club (pictured).
In a personal letter to Steve, Prime Minister Theresa May said:
“Your exceptional dedication to supporting the growth of amputee football in England, and internationally, is helping hundreds of people participate in sport. By drawing on experience from your remarkably successful career, you are serving as an outstanding role model for the game and providing invaluable leadership for the ‘English Amputee Football Association.”
Everton Football Club CEO, Professor Denise Barrett-Baxendale, said:
“Everyone associated with Everton Football Club and Everton in the Community are very proud of Steve and we are delighted that his tireless efforts with the England Amputee Football Association have been recognised by the Prime Minister. I have had the pleasure of working alongside Steve for many years and his passion, commitment and dedication to improving football and physical activity opportunities for disabled adults and children shines through in everything that he does.”
Everton in the Community CEO, Richard Kenyon, said:
“Steve has been the Disability Manager of Everton in the Community for over 15 years and has used his own experiences to help shape the programme into one of the most respected in Europe – he has done this whilst also developing the ‘England Amputee Football Association’ and leading them to international recognition. He is a very worthy recipient of a ‘Points of Light’ award and we are very proud of his achievements.”
“It is a great honour to receive such a prestigious work in recognition of my voluntary work within amputee football. When I had my accident in 1985 I went from having the freedom to play football whenever and wherever I wanted to having no football opportunities and this was something I wanted to change.
“Being involved in football can, and has, changed people’s lives for the better and the work I have done with EAFA is about more than just playing sport; it’s about changing non-disabled people’s attitudes towards disabled people but more importantly, I’m passionate about empowering disabled people and supporting them to take an active part in everyday mainstream society.”
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