Stars back football tournament for coach hopeful Sohail

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Football coach Sohail Rehman with his letter of support from Alex Furguson Football coach Sohail Rehman with his letter of support from Alex Furguson

Two Leeds United stars supported a wheelchair-bound FA-qualified football coach when he hosted his first football tournament yesterday.

Sohail Rehman, 20, of Keighley, who dreams of managing in the Football League one day, held the competition at Soccer City Leeds.

The open-age tournament brought together teams from across Yorkshire – under the watchful eye of footballers Ross McCormack and Noel Hunt.

Mr Rehman, who earlier this year received a congratulatory letter from then-Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson, said: “This was my first big event. It’s based on getting all the local communities together from different parts of Yorkshire.

“It’s such a great feeling knowing you are organising it and that no-one is looking at me thinking. ‘he’s never played the game, can he actually coach or organise the tournament?’.

“I want to say a massive thank you to Soccer City – they have been amazing.

“Ross McCormack and Noel Hunt are supporting my ambition in chasing my dream of being a Football League manager or coach one day.”

The Telegraph & Argus reported in April how Mr Rehman had received a congratulatory letter from Sir Alex when he passed his coaching badges .

“Since then, it has been a great few months with the support I’ve got from so many different people,” said Mr Rehman, who is head coach at Class on Grass, an organisation he founded.

Among those supporting Mr Rehman are Spanish football expert Guillem Balague, who invited the Keighley youngster to Liverpool as a guest, when he unveiled his new book on Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi.

Mr Rehman, who is a Manchester United supporter, was born with spinal muscular atrophy. He was able to walk on his toes as a young child, but, at the age of 11, he started to get tired after a few steps and became confined to a wheelchair two years later.

Someone suggested he take a football coaching course and he soon got a voluntary role with a disabled sports and leisure club, and later started coaching in Keighley with learning support children.

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