The Jersey Football Association believes in flexible, inclusive and accessible playing opportunities for everyone, and is committed to delivering a range of opportunities for players with a disability to access football.
In 2002 the Jersey Sports Association for the Disabled approached St Paul's FC with a view to providing coaching to a group of seven individuals with learning disabilities. Those original seven ranged in age and ability and despite these variances, the group bonded and encouraged each other, developing an ethos of fun and sportsmanship. Over the years the squad has grown and now numbers 30 members between the age of 16 to 60, who have a variety of learning disabilities including Downs’ Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy and head injuries.
The squad train all year round. In the spring and summer months training takes place at Springfield football stadium, moving indoors to Langford gym during the winter months. A training session usually consists of a warm-up, skills exercises and a game of football, all of which keeps the individuals fit, improves coordination and behavior, and develops teamwork. Coaching is provided by voluntary qualified coaches and in 2019 two of the original members also passed the Level One Coaching in Football qualification.
As there is very little opportunity for the Jersey squad to play games against local teams of a similar ability it is necessary to take them off island and the squad is proud to represent Jersey. In the beginning the squad exchanged visits with the Guernsey Learning Disabilities football team and in 2006 and 2007 they took part in a competition in Manchester held at Manchester United’s old training ground ‘The Cliff’ against a number of local disability teams, gaining valuable experience and an appetite to play in more competitive games. For the next five years the squad then entered teams in the prestigious Harrogate 5 a-side annual disabilities football tournament which attracts around 70 teams from all over the UK. In 2013 the squad took part in the Great Britain Special Olympics in Bath representing the Southern regions. The two Jersey teams played eight 5 a-side games each, over the course of three days against teams from other UK regions and the A team won the Gold medal in group 3, a remarkable achievement.
Since 2013 the squad has taken part in one or two tournaments each year in the UK gaining experience, developing friendships and, as always, being a credit to the Island.
If you use walking/gait training equipment such as a frame or walker, are aged between 5 and 16 and love the beautiful game, Jersey FA is delighted to announce the launch of Frame Football – something specifically developed just for frame users and adaptable for ambulant footballers.
Cerebral Palsy Sport has designed, developed and trialled Frame Football all around the UK enjoying lots of really positive feedback from coaches, equipment specialists, physiotherapists, parents and the players themselves as something that creates a truly player-centred football opportunity. There are now 17 registered clubs.
Supported by the Football Association’s Disability Committee as a grassroots development programme, Frame Football is already gaining recognition as an inclusive Adapted Sport and we’re absolutely delighted to be bringing it to Jersey.
Jersey FA Disability Officer; Paul Greenwood, first spotted Frame Football via Twitter which led to a discussion with Cerebral Palsy National Development Officer Sam Turner.
“I spoke to Sam via email and he helped me establish this initiative," he said. “I’ve seen the benefits of these kind of initiatives, not only does it give children with mobility disorders a chance to play, it also has huge social benefits in meeting and playing with like-minded children in a truly inclusive environment."
JERSEY FRAME FOOTBALL ON TWITTER