An outstanding season for Steyning Town Football Club talent Louis Smart has seen him rewarded with a call-up into the Great Britain under-21 deaf team as they head to the European Championships this summer.
Smart, 17, from Shoreham, impressed over the course of last season and earned himself a place in the Steyning squad for the final few matches of the campaign.
As well as playing for Town, Smart also made great progress at Lewes’ football academy and is hopeful of breaking into their first team at some stage in the future.
Smart’s success is made all the more remarkable as the teenager has a significant hearing impairment – but he has not let that halt his continued progression.
His impressive displays have seen him rewarded with a spot in GB’s deaf squad ahead of the European Championships, which take place in Poland this summer.
Speaking on his inclusion in the squad, Smart said: “I’m delighted to be part of the Great Britain team. I looked on the internet and found that some trials were being held back in October.
“After impressing on those, I was asked back and then found out that I made the under-21 squad for the Euro’s in the summer.
“The team’s aim will be to win the competition and hopefully we will be able to do that.
“It will be a great opportunity for myself and the team to show what we can do against other top European teams.
“I know France, Poland and Sweden will be taking part, as will a few other nations, so it will be a real test for the team.
“From what I saw in the trial sessions, I think we have enough quality in the 18-man squad to be a real threat this summer. It’s such an honour to get the call and I want to impress.”
The young Steyning talent starred for the club’s under-18 and 21 teams, before impressing first-team boss Alan Skipper and making senior appearances for the Southern Combination League Division 1 side.
Having proved he can make his way through the youth ranks into first-team football, Smart is hopeful that impressing in this summer’s tournament could see him rewarded with a spot in the Great Britain deaf squad’s senior side one day.
He added: “The senior deaf team are travelling to the World Cup this summer and that is my aim – to one day make it into that team.
“I know that will not be easy but if I continue to put the hard work in you never know what may happen.
“I’m full-time at Lewes’ Football Academy at the minute, which is great, and with the next World Cup four years off hopefully I can work hard and earn a place in that team.
“There is a lot of time between now and then but the season I have had with Steyning will stand me in good stead for the future.”
Smart is looking to raise £1,000 in order for him to make it on the plane to Poland ahead of August’s competition.
Anyone who wishes to donate to Smart’s fund can visit crowdfunding.justgiving.com/Louis-Smart17
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