Inspirational Sohail sets sights on football league
A Keighley resident, who was forced to give up playing football after being restricted to a wheelchair, is now dedicating his life to helping others achieve success in the beautiful game.
At just 21-years-old, Sohail Rehman has become a pioneer for disabled sports coaches after he became the first wheelchair-bound fully-qualified football coach in the world.
Suffering from spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), he was restricted to a wheelchair at 13-years-old after growing up playing football with friends in the street.
From then, he has not only achieved his football coaching badges but also helped launch his own project, Class on Grass, which helps develop young players grow into the sport.
The inspirational coach currently trains Sunday league teams in the local area and explains why he got into coaching.
“Growing up, watching the likes of Ronaldo and Messi, I saw these players, and yes they are very talented, but always remember there's a group of coaches who have helped them all the way,” he said.
“I was just proud to become a coach. I love to be out there on a cold morning coaching and people might find that hard to believe but I love it.”
Sohail studied sports technology at college, and worked with the Manchester United disabled supporters association.
His passion for the Red Devils was further increased when he received a personal letter from former manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, commemorating him for his achievement in passing his coaching badges.
The Manchester United legend is one of Sohail’s biggest idols and he said it was unbelievable to receive such a mention.
Despite receiving praises from the highest level, it is in fact the grassroots game where the local coach is currently enjoying spending his time, helping children achieve their potential in football.
“I coach every day nearly and I love it,” he said.
“To help local kids in the community develop their skills is my personal highlight. Every kid wants to be a footballer and I just want to help them in their quest.
“The fact that they gain such enjoyment from football is great to see.”
Earlier this month, the football enthusiast became the latest ambassador for the charity, the Intouch Foundation.
Speaking about the foundation, Sohail added: “It's amazing the work they do. To stand out there once a week to feed the community is amazing; it's a great feeling.”
Faisal Tariq, InTouch National Mobile Soup Kitchen Manager, added: “Sohail was selected as an ambassador for InTouch as he is a role model and inspiration to everyone around the world.
“No matter what obstacles life has thrown at him he has never stopped chasing his dream, Sohail for me as one of our ambassador gives us the motivation to keep doing what we do best at InTouch Foundation which is being InTouch with those who are in need.”