NO-ONE can accuse former Todmorden resident David Mycock of not making the most of what life has to offer.
From leaving Todmorden High School he played professional football for Bolton and Rochdale in the 1980s. Although his career on the field as a player ended prematurely, he took the opportunity to further his football ambitions by training to be a football coach and becoming qualified from national govening bodies.
In addition, he studied for a BSc in Sport and Exercise Science and an MSc in Sports Coaching.
Now his passion for coaching has led to him being named as the coach for the Great Britain National Blind Football team in the run up to the 2012 Paralympic Games. On this new twist to his career he said: “I am absolutely delighted to be appointed coach, I regard it as a huge honour.”
The 41-year-old is credited with pioneering and popularising competitive five-a-side football for elite visually impaired and blind players as part of the Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS) at the University of Worcester.
“It started with me coaching one blind student at the university where I lecture in Sports Coaching Science and from there the team grew,” he said.
As a result of his appointment with the national side David will now be present at the World Games in Turkey this Easter, the European Championships in Moscow in July and the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
His role will also mean he will be part of the national team’s monthly residential training camps, which are to be held at Hereford’s Royal National College for the Blind. The national blind squad will certainly keep him on his coaching toes - the team are currently ranked second in Europe and fourth in the world through the International Blind Sports Association (IBSA) official rankings.
“I admire the players enormously, they have to be brave and tenacious especially so at the level that they play,” David said.
His zeal to bring the sport to visually impaired players has taken him all over the world as the sport grows in popularity and expertise.
“It’s taken seven years to get this far and I’m delighted to say that funding is being made available as credibility and sustainability for the sport gains momentum,” he added.
The team is made up of four visually impaired players and a sighted goal keeper with health and safety for the players being foremost throughout the game.
The sides of the pitch are boarded and an audible football is used so the players can hear where it is being played.
In addition to the referee there are navigators who shout out where key players are in relation to the how the game is being tactically played.
“As long as we don’t play like England do when they are in big tournaments, we should stand a great chance of being champions!” David said with a laugh.