In the latest of our series with the Scotland Cerebral Palsy team we catch up Jonathan Paterson, an integral part of the squad for the past decade.

“For me, it started with with my grandfather”, Paterson explains to the Scottish FA website.

“He always encouraged me to get into football, and I’ve played all the life. One day, when I was injured with a broken foot, I found out about the Cerebral Palsy team online. The rest, as they say, is history.”

Paterson has travelled the world playing football for both Scotland and Great Britain, notably captaining Team GB and the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing. It is with Scotland though that Paterson has enjoyed some of his finest moments in his career.

“I’ve experienced a lot over my time in football, both with Scotland and with Great Britain, but the memories I’ve had with the Scotland team have been really special,” Paterson said.

“Everyone in this squad brings with them their own qualities, and I suppose mine now is experience! I’ve been with the squad for ten years now, and it’s been an incredible journey. I’m glad I’ve been able to experience the improvements we’ve made both as individuals and as a team from when I’ve started.

“That we are disappointed to not reach the top eight at last year’s World Cup shows the ambition we have for the future. We back ourselves in the competitions that we are preparing for this year.”

The squad train regularly and with games coming thick and fast - next up for the side are two matches against Northern Ireland in Kilwinning next month - being part of the team requires dedication. It’s dedication that, although technically amateur, requires a professional approach. It’s this approach that Paterson believes is institutionalised in all aspects of the squad.    

He said: “Even though the sport is officially amateur, the levels of professionalism demonstrated by the team and the coaching staff are a testament to everyone involved. From a personal point of view, being able to maintain my fitness and improve my technique over the years to keep my place in the squad is obviously something that is very pleasing.

“Through word of mouth and publicity the awareness of the squad is heightened. It means that we can attract players of all different levels of classification that may not have known about the team in the past. It’s great for the game in Scotland, and it also means that the current squad have to keep those levels high to stay part go the team.”

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