Few sportsmen can call themselves a three-time league winner and European champion by the age of 22.
Marcus Harrison is one of the few who can, however, and the Powerchair Football star is hoping financial support from GVC Holdings and SportsAid can help him achieve even more success.
Harrison is among the latest crop of 50 sportspeople to be supported by the programme, which is part of GVC’s Pitching In campaign and was launched in 2019 with the support of Paralympian Baroness Grey-Thompson.
Athletes receive funding for training, travel and equipment, as well as mentoring by Olympians and Paralympians on topics such as nutrition and sports psychology.
Harrison travels from his home in Liverpool to represent his club side, West Bromwich Albion, and the programme will help him continue to do so as well as providing other benefits.
“It is great to be a part of,” said Harrison, who was born with congenital muscular dystrophy.
“It’s quite an expensive sport to play, for myself at least, with petrol and hotels. Going to West Brom every Tuesday costs £30 in petrol and we have to stay all over the country.
“It adds up over a season but the GVC money will help me not have to worry about it.”
SportsAid programmes have helped support a vast array of British sporting heroes, including Jessica Ennis-Hill and Sam Peaty MBE, and Harrison is delighted to see his name in that company.
“They have been on it and gone on to achieve great things, so hopefully I can do the same in my sport,” said Harrison, who has already won plenty in the game.
As well as helping West Brom to three successive National League titles, Harrison has represented England in a World Cup and two European Championships since his first international call-up in 2013.
At the most recent Euros, which took place last year, he scored twice in the final 10 minutes to help England come from 2-0 down to earn a draw against world champions France before scoring the winning penalty in the shootout.
“In the lead-up to it, the thought of taking one was keeping me awake at night,” said Harrison, who was also the tournament’s top goal scorer.
“But in the moment, going up, I knew I was going to score. I was confident and didn’t feel nervous.”
Harrison credits Powerchair Football for “completely changing my life”, building his confidence at school (Broadgreen International School) and University, where he studied Science and Football at Liverpool John Moores.
“There are not many disability team sports you can play as a wheelchair user,” Harrison said.
“It’s fast and exciting – I would definitely urge people to get involved.”
GVC is proud to be championing the next generation of British sporting heroes by providing talented young athletes with financial support and personal development opportunities in partnership with SportsAid. As part of this three-year partnership, GVC are supporting a diverse group of 50 UK athletes per year from a variety of spots and para-sports. Visit gvc-plc.com to find out more.