Suffolk firefighters called up to England as local squad gains momentum
- Credit: Archant
Four Suffolk firefighters are celebrating after having been named in an England football squad.
All four men are members of the Suffolk Fire Service Football team and will be joining up with the national, English Fire side when they take on the RAF in their next game.
The call-ups come on the back of a successful first season for the county team who have been pulling off cup shocks against some of the country's biggest and most experienced fire service teams, including London.
"We used to have a fire service football team. We were quarter finalists for four years in the England Cup which is good for a small service," said the team's manager and fire service group commander for prevention and protection, Paul Goodman.
"Then for 10, 15 years we have not had anything really."
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Then in March this year Mr Goodman put out the call to reform, gathering together a team of 35 players.
"We have had a series of friendlies and a couple of cup games," said Mr Goodman.
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"They are doing very well."
The Suffolk players are well spread out through the service; with players coming from both the operational and non-operational sides of the force.
Everyone from full-time firefighters to IT team members are included with players joining from all corners of the county.
As such the team don't actually train together at all and only come together for matches.
The team's captain is Dan Davis, who also plays for Felixstowe and Walton United FC as well as being crew commander at the Princes Street fire station in Ipswich.
He said: "We haven't been together long but we jelled. It's a tight knit squad.
"We have a bond."
Mr Davis is one of four players to be called up for the England Fire Service squad alongside colleagues Declan McAvoy, Phil Weavers and Joshua Collins.
"It's quite an honour," said Mr Davis.
"The rest of the squad are behind us."
Despite their lack of time together Mr Goodman believes the team could do well in their respective cups this season.
"I think really just to keep the momentum going," said Mr Goodman.
"If they play the way they did in the game against London, they have every chance of doing well."