image shows Matt Cliff smiling at the camera after playing goalball with his eyeshades on his headEach Thursday we want to put the spotlight on a person involved with goalball – from players, officials to coaches, or anyone!

We want to use our online platforms so the Goalball Family can get to know each other a bit better ahead of getting back on the court and playing our sport again!

This week we caught up with Matt Cliff!

What club do you play for or coach?

I play for (and coach) Mersey Sharks.

How did you discover goalball?

Back in 2009 I set up a multi-sports club called SAVI Northwest and as part of this we included goalball activities. I completed my Goalball Club Leaders award in 2013 but really just used this for delivering introductory level sessions, taster sessions and some goalball in schools. It was 2018 before I tried to play competitively. I really wish I had tried it much sooner! Now that SAVI runs the Mersey Sharks goalball team the opportunity is there for others to enjoy!

Is there a particular song, artist or genre that you listen to before a tournament to get in the mood? Or anything you’re loving at the moment?

I like anything that is lively to get me psyched up whether it be dance or cheesy pop music. Basically, good mood music!

Image shows Matt Cliff stood with his Mersey Sharks teammates at the EIS in Sheffield

Do you have any pre-game superstitions or rituals?

I’m usually too busy checking I have spare shirts and equipment for other players to get caught up in rituals as I get obsessed with being organised. I know I am a pain to my family around me when I am getting ready. Once in the minibus on the way to competitions though I like to just chill out and listen to music.

What is your favourite post-match meal?

I am usually too sore to worry about food but will have sweets of some sort in the minibus and then a burger or kebab with chilli sauce when I get home. That’s my reward for working hard!

Which goalball player do you admire the most and why?

It would not be fair to pick out just one player. I have found so many people so welcoming and so friendly. I have been lucky to attend some of the #FindTheNext talent sessions and it is clear that everyone just wants to help everyone else. It has been the same during competitions. I can think of a couple who helped us early in our local development and in our early tournaments but it wouldn’t be right to only single them out.

Outside of goalball, what other hobbies/sports do you do?

I like delivering multi-sports for visually impaired people. When I can find a front rider I like to tandem cycle and I also play VI cricket for Wavertree CC.

Image shows Matt stood with his Wavertree CC teammates

Finally, what place, anywhere in the world, is on your bucket list to visit and why?

I would love to take my children to Australia. It’s a once in a lifetime experience.

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To check out the rest of the articles from our ‘Featured Thursday’ series please use the following link Goalball UK – Featured Thursday