GOALBALL: March man in European Championship squad
March-based Daniel Roper has been selected for the GB team to take part in the European Goalball Championships in Poland next month.
Roper, who is visually impaired, will join Caleb Nanevie (Sheffield), Filmon Eyassu (Cambridge), Joseph Roper (Hereford), Joshua McEntee (Manchester) and Matthew Loftus (Newcastle) as they take on Europe’s finest.
Outside of the GB squad, Roper trains with the Fen Tigers – the goalball club he founded with his fiancé and women’s GB player, Laura Perry.
Roper said: “It’s great to be representing my country once again on such a big stage. We’ve got a few new players in the squad, which has given as a real boost of energy and confidence ahead of this vital tournament.”
This new look squad will be competing in Chorzow between 22nd and 30th September, with hopes of returning to the A league, having slipped to the B division last year. If successful this would take the team back to the very highest level of the game in Europe and in a strong position ahead of the World Championships and Tokyo 2020.
Faye Dale, head coach of the men’s GB squad, said: “I’m really confident that this team will deliver our aim of returning to the top tier.
“The last squad achieved promotion from C to B to A in astounding time, so we were rightly proud of the performance at the A tournament.
“Training has gone really well, with the new players slotting in nicely with existing players whilst adding a new vibrancy and flair to the squad.”
Goalball was originally developed to rehabilitate soldiers after World War II and is the only team sport invented specifically for the visually impaired. In the past four years alone, participation has increased 425%.