Q&A with footballer Billy-Lee Dixon

After a long summer, we’re delighted that the football season is underway once more. We caught up with footballer Billy-Lee Dixon.

What is the best and worst thing about your sport?
The best thing about my sport is having the opportunity to play at the highest level of football I can because of the disability talent pathway the F.A has provided. But not only this, I have met some friends for life by playing the sport I love and to be an England player with them makes it even better. The worst thing about my sport is probably the selection process for training camps and international tournaments. It can be a nervous time as all your training and hard work comes down to one email. But as well as being nervous waiting for the selection answer, you also have to keep your eye on the ball and carry on training hard.

What is your best achievement this year?
My biggest achievement this year is being selected to train with the England cerebral palsy senior squad. This was a big thing for me because I was seen to have the potential and ability to play against, and with, some of the best players in cerebral palsy football. Some of these players competed in the 2016 Rio Paralympics.

What does your normal day and week look like?
My normal day would consist of a six and a half hour day at school as I'm in Dronfield Henry Fanshawe sixth form doing my A levels. Then after school, 3-5 times a week I would go to the gym and do my strength and conditioning programme and 1-2 times a week doing technical football sessions provided by the coaches at the F.A. Then on Tuesdays I would train and on Sundays play a match with my mainstream under 18's team AFC Dronfield White. Then on Saturday I train with my regional disability talent hub, 'East Midlands'.

What do you enjoy most about being a sports person?
The thing I enjoy most about being a sports person is making my family proud. I have been through many troubles in my life because of my disability and to become an international athlete through hard work and dedication making my family proud is a great feeling that I can't describe.

What would you do if you weren’t a sports person?
If I wasn't a sports person I would only really have my school work as my focus. Therefore I feel that without being a sports person and having football as another focus and release, my life wouldn't have that variation and I would become bored and have a lack of motivation, having a negative effect on my school work and potentially my health as my football keeps me fit.

Who is your sporting hero?
My sports hero is probably Jack Rutter who is the England Cerebral Palsy Football Squad Captain. He is my hero because, like me he had a brain injury which he came back stronger from. When I was 14 I had brain surgery twice and to see him come back stronger and become an England player made me want to do the same to the point where I have already trained with him at 15 years of age.

Where is your favourite place to compete?
My favourite place to compete has to be St. George's Park because it is such an amazing venue for football. The pitches to me are the best in the world and the facilities for all
elements of the game of football are amazing. There's gyms, the Hilton hotel, the spa, it's a football heaven.

If you could win one competition what would it be and why?
The one competition I would love to win is the cerebral palsy world championships. If one day I become England seniors regular like my hero Jack Rutter, England have never won this tournament and I feel that if I could be part of a team to make history and win this tournament it would be a dream come true.

What is your favourite thing to do when you have some down-time?
My favourite thing to do when I have down time is to either spend time with my family or friends because living as a sports person you can sometimes lose a lot of time you could spend with these important people and to have the down time with them makes me happy.

Have you ever had an injury?
The biggest injury I've ever had, apart from my brain surgery at the age of 14, is when I pulled my groin in February of this year which lasted for 2-3 months due to the injury

Are you good with money?
Personally, I feel I'm good with money because I will only spend money when I think I need something and not want something. For example with my £750 from SportsAid I have only spent £100 and the rest is in my bank so I can make interest on the money so it doesn't run out as quick.

What sort of things do you / did you spend your SportsAid grant and fundraising on?
The money I spent from SportsAid went on some new footballs and training gear such as cones and when my gym membership runs out I will spend another part of the money on a new membership. Therefore the money has helped a great deal as it has enabled me to continue my gym work and have better football sessions with more equipment.

How did you hear about SportsAid?
I heard about SportsAid through school as I did GCSE P.E and we talked about governing bodies and support schemes for athletes such as SportsAid, therefore to be an athlete for SportsAid is a massive honour, as learning about it made me realise the size and importance of the organisation.

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