In a first for the East Riding County FA, Tuesday 16th February 2016 saw the beginning of a new disability football Talent Identification Programme. The programme started with the England Talent Day held at St Marys College, Hull.
The Talent Identification Programme is the new entry level step in the newly developed Disability Elite Talent Pathway that is looking to identify players and support the development of elite disability football across the country.
The event was an invitation open to players with a disability who would like to trial and potentially earn a spot on the main 6 weeks Talent Identification Programme that starts mid-April. Players with various different disabilities including Cerebral Palsy, Partially Sighted, Blind and Deaf all arrived in the morning looking to showcase their skills, outline their potential and prove they are worth being selected on to the 6 week programme.
Prior to the football starting the group were giving a small presentation by Regional Centre of Excellence Coach, Paul Bird about the talent pathway and shown some videos of various versions of disability football played at an elite level. The group were then given a treat when local England Cerebral Palsy Football star, Jack Fox-Hockney gave the group some words of inspiration and showed off his England cap.
All players who attended were giving a numbered bib to enable them all to be identified and viewing them on the different activities. Players were then split in to 3 groups and spread across three different focus activities. Each focus activity looked at a different aspect of football such as attacking, defending, ball control etc. and allowed us to have a more rounded view on them as a footballer.
Following completion of the focus activity, the players were then placed in to 4 teams and competed against each other in a series of small sided games. This allowed each player to be assessed based on a match situation.
Players will now be waiting to find out if they have made it through to the next stage and can continue their journey along the talent pathway.
On behalf of everyone involved in the Talent Identification Programme, we would to thank all those players who attended the England Talent Day for their participation you certainly did yourselves proud and we hope you continue to participate within disability football.
If you would like more information regarding disability football, the talent programme and how to get involved then please contact Pete Allison, Disability Football Development Officer on 07798 884500 or firstname.lastname@example.org.