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Disabled footballers have the right to shine

Football News 24/7
Every disabled player should see a clear pathway from grassroots football to an impairment specific national team according to Essex County FA Senior Development Officer, John Manning, who is currently inviting games organisers, PE teachers and coaches to a pair of Talent Identification Workshops in late March.

The Essex County FA, sportessex and Pro-Active East London, in partnership with The FA, are offering a free workshop to anyone involved in the identification of talented footballers. The workshop is part of The FA’s commitment to enhancing the knowledge of disability football within the County, and a variety of themes will be covered.

Newly-appointed FA Disability Talent Consultants are providing additional resources to County FAs in the delivery of the ‘Playground to Podium’ programme and are ensuring effective talent identification takes place. This will primarily be achieved by educating and equipping people who work with, or maybe don’t know that they work with, talented individuals.

The County Office in Chelmsford will be the venue for the first workshop on Monday 26th March from 7:00 to 10:00pm with The FA’s Jon Whittingham. The second, in conjunction with the London FA, is booked for the University of East London’s Stratford Campus in Water Lane on Wednesday 28th March from 6:00 to 9:00pm.

Attendees will become familiar with the FA Disability Talent Player Pathway, will learn how to define and identify talent and discover where to find it in conjunction with a vast range of prominent player case studies. The workshop will also count towards coaches’ Continuous Professional Development (CPD) targets for the current year.

Manning is hoping to attract school games organisers, PE teachers and grassroots and ‘Football in the Community’ coaches to either of the workshops whilst clarifying the structure of the pathway. He said: “There is a clear route for a player with a disability to move from grassroots through to a national team, and you can enter this at any point.”

“We’ve engaged with over 200 young people who have a disability in football activities but, of those players, only one has gone on to represent England for an impairment specific team. Although this is a great achievement, there may be more talent within the County’s mainstream schools and clubs who would appreciate a similar opportunity.”

“If you have a player with a disability in your club or school, I’d encourage you to attend to discover whether this player has the potential to make this step. The player would not need to leave their club or school setting, this would just open an avenue for them to see how far their talent will take them.”

“We’re committed to ensuring that Football is For All and we’d like to see every local authority area have their own disability football provision, either through a club or an organisation. These clubs would then have the opportunity to feed into our Soccability League, which will hopefully encourage all those involved to achieve their full potential.”

To book your place onto the Chelmsford workshop, download the application form from http://­www.­essexfa.­com/ and return it to: John Manning, Essex County FA, The County Office, Chelmsford, Essex, CM2 5LB. John can also be contacted on (01245) 393095 or via E-Mail at john.manning@essexfa.com. For the East London workshop, your contact is Laura Pierce via (020) 8223 4484 or l.pierce@uel.ac.uk.


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