Selfie of Stephen, alongside Kathryn Fielding and Phil Green, at Bushy parkrunEach Thursday we want to put the spotlight on a person involved with goalball – from players, officials to coaches, or anyone!

We want to use this opportunity where we have a bit more time on our hands to get to know you all a little bit better.

For National School Sport Week we caught up with Goalball UK’s National Schools Officer, Stephen Newey.

What is your hometown?
I am from Sheffield, where I have lived for all of my life. I am currently based in the Hillsborough area, not far from the Sheffield Wednesday football ground – ‘Up The Owls!’

How did you discover goalball?
The first time I heard about goalball was when I was asked to do a 6-week block of Paralympic sports for a school I was coaching in at the time. We spent two weeks on goalball, as well as boccia and seated volleyball. I didn’t really come across goalball properly until I started my role at Goalball UK.

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?

As the only artist I have seen live in concert, I think it is fair to say my favourite artist is Eminem! My favourite genre of music is rap & hip-hop, although I will listen to virtually anything I like the sound of. My playlist has a very eclectic mix of songs, from Eminem and 50 Cent all the way through to My Chemical Romance and Fallout Boy! One of my favourite songs at the moment is Physical by Dua Lipa.

Do you have any pre-game superstitions or rituals?

I wouldn’t say I have any particular superstition or ritual. However, when I am officiating a goalball game my whistle is always in my left hand!

Do you have a favourite post-match meal?

My favourite food is pizza, although on the way home from tournaments you will often find me in McDonald’s! I typically go for a quarter-pounder with cheese, or a chicken select meal.

Which goalball player do you admire the most and why?
For me, I wouldn’t be able to pick out just one player. In my relatively short time at Goalball UK so far, I am continuously learning loads about the sport from everyone I meet. I still find the elite level of goalball really fascinating, I can not image being on court trying to defend against some of our top player’s shots!

Outside of goalball, what other hobbies/sports do you do?
Outside of goalball, one of my main non-sporting hobbies would be playing video games and watching YouTube! My favourite game of all time is Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. Back in the sporting world I have always had a go at loads of sports, with one of my favourites outside of goalball being basketball. I am also a Sheffield Wednesday fan, which can be quite stressful at times! One of my main sporting hobbies now is running, which definitely came from the launch of Goalball UK’s ‘parkrun to the Paralympics’ campaign! I have well and truly caught the parkrun bug and you will typically see me at a different parkrun every week at 9am ready to run!

Finally, what place, anywhere in the world, is on your bucket list to visit and why?
I have been lucky enough to visit quite a few different countries within Europe, with one of my most memorable trips being to Norway in May 2019 and seeing the midnight sun in Tromsø. It is definitely on my bucket list to go back to Norway in the winter to see the Northern Lights! Although I have done quite a lot of travelling, I have never been outside of Europe and it is certainly on my list to explore some other parts of the world (once we are able to travel again). High on my list are Canada and the USA, and also Dubai as I would love to go up the Burj Khalifa one day!

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