This summer I got to know about CP Football (or also called Football 7-a-side). Several national (youth) teams for players with Cerebral Palsy or other acquired brain injury are playing for the Royal Dutch Football Association KNVB. It was a Paralympic sport until the games of Rio de Janeiro in 2016. Unfortunately it will be missed at the games of Tokyo2020. The international federation didn’t met the requirements of the International Paralympic Committee. This causes big impact on the Dutch CP-team: there was no support from the National Olympic Committee NOC*NSF anymore and also the KNVB reduced the budget. A part of the Rio2016 team decided to quit to sport on elite level.
World Championships CP Football San Luis – Argentina
In the spring of 2017 Max Raeven became the new head coach of the Dutch National CP Football. Guy Steenweg, also director of Respo International, was asked as the team manager. The preparations for the World Championships CP Football in San Luis – Argentina started with a new team. I met the boys at their first training camp in Dutch town Tilburg in July. It was difficult to join the existing channels of the KNVB, because of the holidays and the lack of human resources. With only one month left, we decided to rebuild an old CP Football website and to update the social media channels.
Just in time for the World Championships all communication channels were ready to update about the ins and outs from the Dutch team. Goal keeper Stefan Boersma, not selected this time, showed his love for the sport and helped me writing the reports around the competitions. The staff shared their photos and videos from Argentina and we could watch a livestream of the games. It was a hard championship for the young and partly inexperienced team. They finished on the 8th position.
Game plan CP Football: a strategic session
After the World Championships I found some time to aks more strategic questions about the future of CP Football and the communication around the national teams. After the summer only a few friendly games were played at the players’ regional clubs. Until then we had worked toward Argentina and there was no (communication) plan after that. I prepared a brainstorm session about the future of the Dutch CP Football and invited some players and staff.
A ‘game plan’ guided us step by step through history to future. We had interesting discussions about dreams, ambitions and leadership in CP Football. Indeed there’s an impact that the sport isn’t Paralympic anymore, but we have enough other changes and motivated players to bring the team back on world stage. We held the session in the historical FC Volendam stadion, a place with a great atmosphere. It helped us thinking big and making the first steps to redefine Dutch CP Football . In 2018 the European Championships will be held in The Netherlands. A beautiful event to put the spotlights on this sport!
Curious? Take a look at www.cpvoetbal.nl (Dutch).