If you have met or heard Charlie Fogarty give one of his motivational talks you will be in awe of this young man who has overcome extreme adversity to reach the pinnacle of his sport whilst also inspiring young people and adults alike.
Charlie was an aspiring footballer who had represented Northern Ireland at Under-16 level. He was just 14 when a horrific road traffic accident left him in a coma fighting for his life.
Such is Charlie’s fighting spirit, he pulled through but was left with injuries that put paid to a promising professional football career. Charlie was undaunted and with the love and support of his parents Mark and Sara, Charlie set about rebuilding his life and football career. His father Mark encouraged him to give talks to local schoolchildren. What started as giving talks at school assemblies has snowballed to giving talks to all manner of people and organisations. Charlie has spoken to players and staff at almost every professional football club, most recently at West Bromwich Albion.
Charlie tells his audiences that anything is possible if you are prepared to work hard, make the most of your natural talent and never give up. Charlie has proved this by completing a BA Honours degree and becoming one of the youngest people to be awarded an MBE.
As for football, Charlie walks the talk. He has played Ability Counts Cerebral Palsy football at the highest level representing Northern Ireland at two World Cup finals in England and Argentina respectively; European Championships in Holland and the Intercontinental Championships in Denmark. There is more to come from Charlie as he will be adding to his international appearances and he also plays adult football for Silhill FC.
Charlie will continue to inspire and motivate young people as he has agreed to assist the club with its community activities by speaking to Solihull primary and secondary school students. As Becci Fox, the club’s Community Manager states:
"Charlie’s inspiration and determination are instrumental in showing that anything is possible and with determination, self-belief and hard work you can achieve more. It has been a pleasure not only seeing Charlie develop on his own personal journey but also to see the impact he has made with our young people particularly our ability counts teams.
"Charlie has motivated all around him and a lot of our young people now see Charlie as a role model. With support from Solihull Moors and Charlie’s unselfish sharing of knowledge our young people have developed in self–belief and are achieving using Charlie’s mantra of “anything is possible”.
By Alex Alexandrou