Mainstream football clubs are being encouraged to incorporate ‘Soccability’ into their community offering as the Essex County FA’s Cindi Chatha aims to grow the opportunities for individuals with any disability or impairment to enjoy playing the game.
Existing clubs already involved in Soccability, either by showing an interest or by delivering regular sessions or taster sessions, include Baddow Spartak, Woodham Radars, Witham Town and Saffron Walden Town. Maldon Saints and Canvey Island also affiliate specific disability teams. Cindi has explained why, in particular, mainstream clubs are being targeted.
She said: “Soccability is like a little family where all clubs support one another. Existing clubs are more than happy to share their expertise and knowledge and there’s additional support from the County FA, FA Coach Mentors and the Essex Soccability League. Many of our disability teams are standalone clubs. That can leave them quite vulnerable.”
“Mainstream clubs have the infrastructure to not only support, but to grow disability football within Essex. A lot cater for their local community - whether that’s girls, boys or adults - but only a handful also offer disability football. Yet there are players within their clubs who have siblings, family members or friends with a disability, who are looking for a club which suits their needs.”
“Any club could start a Soccability team, as long as they are committed and have the passion and drive to grow disability football within Essex. It just requires publicity, engagement with the relevant organisations and ensuring you gather insight from parent carers.”
Individuals with all disabilities or impairments are encouraged to attend a session, regardless of their ability, and Cindi continued: “It’s surprising how those involved within Soccability are able to adapt their sessions to ensure every single individual is included and being challenged. This all comes with practice and experience, plus our Coach Mentors, will provide support.”
“We suggest that clubs start with a ‘Pan-disability’ session comprised of footballers with differing impairments, playing together. All you require is the basics like balls, bibs and cones. If clubs then wanted to progress in to impairment-specific football then there would be other considerations, which vary for each impairment. We can support with this.”
Would you like to find out more about adding Soccability provision to your club? Make contact with your local Football Development Officer, reach out to @EssexCountyFA on Twitter or search for ‘EssexFootball’ on Facebook.