Rhyce Ramsden is a 21 year-old who plays for Manchester City Amputees and will represent England at the World Cup in Turkey later in the year; the tournament gets underway on 30th September and finishes on the 9th October.
Before then, the lifelong Bolton Wanderers fan heads to the Amp Futbol Cup in Poland at the end of this week and his Manchester City side finished 3rd in the Amputee Champions League which also took place in Poland at the end of last month. Rhyce told us his story about becoming a footballer, supporting Wanderers and his ambitions for the future.
“I have been a below-knee amputee for most of my life. I was born with two legs but as time went on doctors discovered a tumour in my leg. The tumour was not cancerous but due to its size and its proximity to my arteries, the only option was to amputate my leg. I was 5 months old.
“After being told I would only be able to play in goal as a child I was devastated. However, the devastation only made me more determined. If you put your mind to it, you can do it. All obstacles are just one step closer to achieving.
“At school, I was always part of the sports teams in my year, whether it be football, handball or futsal. I have always played football with my prosthetic leg on as a goalkeeper. School football helped me then to play for a Saturday team also as a goalkeeper.
“I was in year 11 and preparing for my GCSE exams in the summer when my teacher, Mr Mooney, got in touch with my current England manager Owen Coyle Jr (son of former Wanderers player and manager – Owen Coyle).
“He introduced me to the sport the following weekend at a junior camp in Crewe. He then got in touch with Paul Kelly who is the coach at Manchester City Amputees. I have now been playing for them for over 5 years.”
Ramsden featured as part of the England squad that reached the final of the European Championships in Turkey in 2017 at just 16 years old. Owen Coyle Jr’s side beat reigning Champions Russia in the semi-final before playing against Turkey in front of 42,000 home fans in Besiktas’ Vodafone Park Arena in Istanbul.
“As an amputee footballer, my ambition is to win a major trophy for my club (Champions League) or the World Cup with England.
“My biggest ambition I work towards daily is to constantly better myself as a player and be the best I can be.”
Brought up just a few miles from the University of Bolton Stadium, the 21-year-old admits he has high hopes for Wanderers for the upcoming 2022/23 campaign.
“I have lived in Tonge Moor since I was a child but went to St. Catherine’s Academy in Breightmet.
“I don’t have a season ticket at the moment but my girlfriend and I will be investing in one for next season. I believe we will at least make the play-offs this season, it’s a really exciting time to be a Bolton fan.
“As a fan, my favourite moment supporting the club was Aaron Wilbraham’s winning goal against Nottingham Forest in 2018 to keep us in the Championship. Kevin Davies is my favourite Bolton Wanderers player of all time, and Dapo Afolayan is my favourite player in the current squad.”
Asked about what life is like as an amputee footballer, Rhyce added: “I train regularly whether that be in the gym, swimming or cardio.
“At EAFA (England Amputee Football Association) we have a professional set-up with plenty of staff to help support us. From physios to sports psychologists. We are supported at all times of the day. We have a nutritionist to help with our diets.
“We spend as much time as possible together as a team and have built up a great relationship. We are more like a family. We have weekly meetings with various coaches and staff analysing our performances assisting us to do better.
“As we are a charity, we don’t get any funding so we have to raise our own funds so we can represent our country at international tournaments and events.
“I am fundraising to raise money to represent my country in the World Cup in Turkey this September. I don’t currently have an individual sponsor, but I am looking for one.”
Find out more about the England Amputee Football Association (EAFA) by clicking on the below links:
If you wish to help Rhyce with his fundraising efforts, please click HERE.
Photos: LAJ Photography.