Sport11th February 2014
Everton in the Community supporting Deaf Football
Everton in the Community provide a significant number of sporting opportunities and runs the deaf mens and women's football teams
Sport has played an important role in deaf people’s lives for generations. With many Deaf and Hard of Hearing sports enthusiasts experiencing exclusion and isolation in mainstream sport over the years, many deaf teams in a wide range of sports have developed. In the early stages of development, these deaf sports teams often stemmed from Deaf Clubs. However, in recent times, many sporting big names have got involved and their involvement is seeing an expansion of the sports and facilities being made available to deaf people.
One such group is Everton in the Community, which is considered to have the largest and most respected disability football programme in the world, with over 10,000 football opportunities for disabled children and adults delivered each year. Their partners and community coaches have worked with more than 60 schools in the Merseyside area alone. They also provide training to teachers and coaches on the specific area of working and coaching disabled players, as well as hosting a number of disability awareness events at schools and colleges throughout the North West.
The Everton in the Community programme is a blue print for success and many deaf and hard of hearing youngsters have benefitted for the sporting opportunities that have been developed.
Over the past five years, various funding opportunities have allowed Everton in the Community to offer free coaching for disabled children in schools across the North West, both during curricular and extra-curricular hours. They also offer opportunities in community day centres to disabled adults from different regions, as well as disability soccer camps, awareness days and education for coaches and teachers.
A very important part of the programme is to empower disabled people and help them integrate back into mainstream society. This is achieved by offering support, mentoring, qualifications and pathways of employment. Many of the disabled people associated to Everton in the Community have gone into voluntary, part-time or full-time employment within the organistation’s own departments or with their partners.
One of the opportunities supported by Everton in the Community is deaf football. Key to the development of deaf football in the area is coach Scott Black. Scott has coached the Everton Deaf team since the side’s inception nine years ago. Having previously coached young deaf players for three years in partnership with Merseyside Society for Deaf people (MSD) progression to the adult band was the logical next step.
The past nine years has seen success and progression for the coach and his group of players. Four seasons in the CMS Liverpool & District League yielded a promotion and a British Deaf Cup success. With nothing ever being straightforward, and following this success, the formation of a deaf team at Manchester United saw the complexion of the team change.
“Manchester United formed two years ago and a lot of our Manchester-based players opted to sign for them,” said Scott. “We lost Liam Coventry, Paul Mills and Ross McCarthy – all of which have represented Great Britain – but that is the nature of football.”
Not a man to cry over spilt milk, Scott just got on with it and threw himself energetically behind the development of youngsters. He has since worked hard on developing younger stars that have come through the Under-12, 14, and 16 development disability squads to stake a claim in the adult team. Defender Dean Mannix recently won an international call-up, but the coach is quick to salute the balance of youth and experience.
“I am so pleased for Dean,” he enthused. “For me he is the most improved player in the squad. I would also say Gary Spotswood is the best keeper in England, as well being a handy out-field player.
“There are a number of seasoned pros in the team with a lot of guile and experience, club captain Gary Crofton and Tim Gill to name but two.”
The Everton in the Community programme is always progressive and looking at ways to further enhance and support disability sport. For the future of Deaf team football, Scott is already making plans, “We want to invest in an innovative device known as a deaf-alerter or ‘Wireless Whistle’ system. This includes all players wearing a wristband that vibrates when the referee blows his whistle. Additionally, if the coach wishes to communicate with a player, we can buzz their individual wristband in order to get their attention,” he continued.
Everton in the Community has a mens and women's adult deaf football team. If yiu are interested in getting involved, or would like to learn more about the other aspects of Everton in the Community, you can do so by going to www.community.evertonfc.com
Receiving a wonderful donation to the Community Programme
Against the backdrop of player transfers, Everton Deaf FC men's team tackle Manchester Deaf FC tonight in the quarter final of the EDF Cup. The game is being played at the Walton Soccer Centre, kick off 7pm. We hope it's a great game!
Article by Sarah Lawrence
posted in Deaf Sport / Sport
11th February 2014