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New Opportunities for Disabled Footballers in Essex

Football development staff at the Essex County FA, Southend United and Colchester United are celebrating the award of two disability player development licences from The FA which could provide opportunities for individuals with a disability to be selected for their Country via two brand new centres.

A call has been issued for individuals aged 12-16 years to be nominated for a Player Development Centre (PDC) trial dates on Friday 21st and Friday 28th September from 6:00 to 7:30pm. Practices will then be held once a week and the centre will be run for 15 sessions at the brand new synthetic turf facility at Cedar Hall School in Thundersley. Names can be put forward via a simple form to be returned to Ian Bent at the Essex County FA.

The PDC will be run in conjunction with the Southend United Community & Educational Trust. It will provide extra training and support for players looking to progress on the FA Disability Player Pathway, comprising of PDCs, Regional Impairment-Specific Centres of Excellence and England Impairment-Specific Squads.

In addition, also run by the Essex County FA in partnership with Colchester United Community Sports Trust, is the FA Regional Cerebral Palsy Centre of Excellence for players aged 12-16 and 16+. This will provide players with a 20-week coaching programme delivered by the Trust’s staff, along with a regional and nationwide fixture programme.

National fixtures will take place on the replica Wembley pitch at the newly-opened St George’s Park facility. Trials for this centre will take place on Saturday 22nd September from 12:00 to 2:00pm at Colchester United Community Sports Trust’s base within the Shrub End Community & Sports Centre in Boadicea Way.

New Senior Football Development Officer Bent, who is resuming some of the projects inaugurated and promoted by former Essex County FA colleague John Manning, sees the granting of these licences as a sign of the progress made in developing disability football opportunities in the County. He said: “This success is down to the hard work of volunteers who’ve developed more football provision in Essex over the last four years.”

“As a County we’re now in a position to offer the next stage on the Disability Player Pathway. Last season we had over 220 young people and adults taking part in the Soccability League and now, to be offering both a PDC and a Centre of Excellence in Essex, it’s a real achievement for all involved in game. I’d like to extend special thanks to Colchester United and Southend United for their support in the delivery of these centres.”

It is hoped that the whole of football in Essex can benefit from this opportunity and the Essex County FA would encourage all schools and clubs in the County to look into whether they have players within their set-up who might be appropriate for nomination. For more information, or to request a trial booking form, please call Ian Bent on (01245) 393094 or E-Mail Further details can be found at