Football is a popular sport among the deaf and hard of hearing population in Northern Ireland.
There are opportunities to participate at youth, adult male and female level. This ranges from development coaching and fun five a side football to competing to win major national competitions.
UK Deaf Football Champions, Belfast Deaf Utd, are working with Irish FA, Action on Hearing Loss, NDCS, Sport NI and a number of other stakeholders to develop a range of opportunities for young people to improve their football skills in a fun and understanding ‘deaf aware’ environment.
British Deaf Cup
Belfast Deaf United won the British Deaf Cup 2011, 2012 and 2014.
Winning the title three times in four seasons in the competitive British Deaf Cup knock-out competition, assured their place in the history books as a truly great team.
The British Deaf Cup represents an elite standard of football. Belfast defeated the premier teams Everton, St. John’s Arsenal and Fulham Deaf in their three recent finals, which provided fantastic experiences for the young players involved.
We can provide FREE coaching sessions for young deaf and hard of hearing people at your school or youth group.
Research suggests young disabled people are less likely to participate in sport than their non-disabled peers. It is apparent however that with appropriate encouragement and coaching, tailored to the needs of the disabled individual, young people can engage and flourish within a sporting environment.
Belfast Deaf Utd star players Brian Babb and Barry Campbell are inspiring, positive role models for any young deaf/hard of hearing person. Both Brian and Barry have completed coaching qualifications up to UEFA ‘B’ licence level and have played in major competitions worldwide.
Together they are taking forward a number of youth football initiatives across Northern Ireland including regular weekly coaching sessions in Belfast, monthly events in the North West and Craigavon, deaf Football Fundays and a 10 week coaching programme at Jordanstown School. Through these initiatives over 100 young deaf people have participated regularly in football and the feedback from both young people and their parents has been excellent.
There are plans to roll out free coaching programmes to interested schools and organisations throughout NI over the next 12 months.
Football Fun Days
Recently, we held two successful deaf football fun days with 35 children aged between 6 and 17 taking part.
Northern Ireland football legend and Irish FA Disability Football Officer, Mal Donaghy, led the sessions alongside Reggie Dornan, team coach from UK Deaf Football Champions Belfast Deaf Utd, Brian Babb and Barry Campbell.
Developing a deaf football youth infrastructure delivers many benefits by providing opportunities for young deaf players to enjoy football with peer support, creating pathways into our senior teams, and ensuring the continuation of deaf football opportunities.
As well as encouraging talented young deaf/hard of hearing males and females to reach their full potential in competition, the coaching programmes are delivered for all skill levels and include regular opportunities to play football for fun.
Resources and guidance on deafness, deaf awareness and effective communication are also available for deaf players who would appreciate support playing in a mainstream environment.
If you know any deaf or hard of hearing young people or their parents/guardians please make them aware of this site and the exciting opportunities available. Further information is listed on the Facebook pages below.