A Nescot Sports student met FC Barcelona players at the Nou Camp on a trip to Spain with Chelsea FC Foundation.
Connor Tong, who is 18 and a first-year Level 3 student, plays for the FA South East Cerebral Palsy Centre of Excellence run by Chelsea FC Foundation at Chelsea's training ground in Cobham, and also their pan-disability team.
He travelled to Spain on April 28 for a three-day camp organised by Barcelona FC as part of the International Symposium on Disability and Football.
He met Barcelona’s first-team players on the pitch and watched them defeat Getafe CF 6-0 at the Nou Camp, as well as taking part in training with Barcelona’s coaches and playing in a tournament with squads from clubs including Ajax and Everton.
“It was an amazing experience, I learnt a lot from it,” said Connor, who played for a team supported by Crystal Palace Foundation coaches before joining Chelsea.
“We didn’t know we would be meeting the players, so that was a brilliant surprise. I met Luis Suárez, Lionel Messi, Gerard Piqué and Javier Mascherano just before their match.”
Connor, who lives in Purley and visited Zurich with Chelsea’s pan-disability team last year, said one of his favourite parts of the camp was the training session with Barcelona coaches, which focussed on ball skills such as dribbling and shooting.
The forward said his goal is to play for the England Cerebral Palsy squad, and he is considering working as a football coach in the future.
Neil Barnett, Head of Sport at Nescot, said: “Connor’s trip was a dream come true for a football fan. We look forward to seeing his football career continue to go from strength to strength.”