A UNIVERSITY of Worcester student who only discovered the sport by chance two years ago will be making history this week as she is among nine selected to compete for England at the first-ever women’s football world championships.
Alice Hopkins is in the England squad competing at the International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) World Games in Birmingham this week.
The event runs from August 18 to August 27, with Alice’s group games starting on Monday (August 14).
Eight women’s blind football teams will be competing at the Games, which is the largest elite international event for athletes with visual impairments.
Alice, who plays for RNC Hereford, has already made history as she was named in England’s squad when the FA announced the founding of its first national women’s blind football team in May 2022.
She also travelled to Italy to compete at last year’s European Championships.
Alice, who plays in midfield, first found her love for the sport in 2021 at a taster session while attending Hereford’s Royal National College for the Blind.
She said: “I was dragged along by a friend to a blind football session, they ended up hating it and I really loved it.
“You have got to listen to guide, coach and goalkeeper, focus on where your team is, where your opponents are, where the ball is- it can be very mentally taxing.”
She does almost daily gym sessions and trains a few times a week, alongside her studies and a part-time job at the University.
She said she hopes the tournament will raise awareness of women’s blind football nationally and within the community.
“If more people know it exists, it would expand.
“For the men’s squad, this tournament is a qualifier for the Paris Games.
“Unfortunately, we’re not a Paralympic sport, but it might be in 2028.
“That would be my ultimate dream; I would love to get to the Paralympics.”