Future dream; to become a Japanese national team player!
“Very happy to find CP football”
Riku, Konno (age,15)
This time we have an interview with Riku, Konno who plays football for Esperanza CP (cerebral palsy) Football Club in Kanagawa prefecture, Kawasaki.
So first of all I would like to know how you started with CP Football?
When I was in 6th grade in Junior High School sat in a Japanese language lesson, we had a topic of welfare and my assignment was about visual impairment football (more commonly known as blind football).
While doing the research, I found out there is special football for people with physical impairment called cerebral palsy(CP)- the condition I have. After consulting with family, we contacted Esperanza CP Football Club and I started to practice and play for them.
Going to the first lesson I was very nervous, but it soon disappeared, as all the team members were very kind and helpful. I made lot of new friends. I’m also very thankful to my parents who took me to my first lesson.
Did you had any previous football playing experience?
My mother was playing football herself and on her recommendation, I picked it up when I was four years old. We were having a lot of fun chasing and kicking the ball around with my friends.
In summer, when I was a third year Junior High student, I started to experience headaches. At first, everybody- me, my family and doctors, thought I had caught a cold but the headaches got slowly worse and I started to have numbness in my right hand. Then the doctors found that I had a brain tumor. I had immediate surgery but the right side of my body remained paralyzed.
A month after the operation we started the rehabilitation of my right leg and hand. While in hospital I started to play football to aid my recovery.
After starting CP football have you noticed any change about yourself ?
Now I have a goal to become a Japanese National CP Football Team player. After the diagnosis and before I joined the Esperanza Next CP football team, I was happy to play football again but couldn’t dream of such goals.
The Esperanza team I now belong to, have a couple of national team members. The chance to train with them gives me a lot of motivation.
You mentioned before, that you started to play football on your mother’s influence but do you ever play football with her?
I do. We sometimes have a kickaround with family. Recently when my team participated in 7-a-side tournament organized by Esperanza, the parents’ team also joined and they were a good challenge. They were quite strong actually but we definitely didn’t want to be beaten by them.
Can you tell us about your future goals and dreams?
First of all I would like to become a Japanese National Team member. I would like to play against other national teams. To achieve that I still have to practice quite a lot. Besides playing football, I will try to get more independent on everyday aspects of my life.
Secondly, I would like to take the football coaching badges. Then I would be able to help people with similar impairments as me, in the same way I was helped along the way in my football and rehabilitation journey.
Finally do you want to say something to readers of this interview?
CP football is a lot of fun! I have gained a lot from playing the game! Let’s play CP football together and follow our dreams!