Amir Ali

The captain of the Villa Rockets and disabled charity ambassador Amir Ali is a man in demand on and off the pitch

Whether it’s coaching, captaining wheelchair football teams or leading after-school clubs for disabled children, it’s sport that gets Amir Ali excited. Born with dystrophic dwarfism and scoliosis, Amir has used a power chair all of his life and attended Wilson Stuart Specialist School as a child where he was always competitive having a go at any sport on offer. But it wasn’t until he left school that his sporting career began in earnest. Amir’s former teachers invited him to come back and coach at an after-school sports club for children with a range of impairments called the Rockets. Honoured to do so, he accepted and enjoyed motivating the kids and watching them flourish. He still does. Due to Amir’s clear enthusiasm and leadership skills at the club, a friend approached him and asked him to coach a new power wheelchair football team also called The Rockets which he accepted. It became apparent pretty quickly that Amir would be a big asset on the pitch as well as off it, so his co-coaches encouraged him to play and soon he was captaining the side. Amir said: “When they asked me I said yes straight away. I was young and it meant a lot to me. One of my coaches, Martin Mills, has always backed me which has given me immense confidence.”


The team had some success in the regional league, but when they were approached by Aston Villa Football Club they didn’t need asking twice! With the club’s support they were able to join the Wheelchair Football Association National League and were renamed the Villa Rockets. The team has gone from strength to strength and in 2010 captained by Amir they were promoted to the top flight of the Premiership Division. “It’s really good exercise. You’re driving around for 40 minutes a game and your body is very tense – not to mention it’s great fun!” Amir still runs after-school clubs and is determined to encourage young disabled people into sport. He credits his school and family for instilling a love of sport in him which he wants to do for other youngsters. “Having received overwhelming support from my family, teachers and coaches while I was growing up, I always try to give my students and teammates the same level of support,” Amir explained. So inspirational is Amir that he was approached by national charity Together We Will to become one of its ambassadors for 2016. The charity aims to motivate disabled people to become more active, something Amir can clearly vouch for. He believes above all else that the confidence sport fosters is invaluable. He said: “Confidence is the greatest benefit. You get to meet people who may have similar conditions and interests which helps you learn and grow. Be bold, be brave and go for it!”