As part of The FA Girls Football Week we caught up with Tate Willis, an eleven-year-old girl with a disability who has a huge passion for football.
Tate, who was born without part of her left arm, began attending Albion in the Community’s junior amputee earlier this season and Tate’s mother, Jools said: “Tate absolutely loves all sport, but especially football.
“We have taken her along to a local club where her older brother plays but she only attended a couple of times because she was usually the only girl and the boys did not want to pass to her.”
Since joining Albion in the Community’s disability programme, Jools believes that it has changed her daughter’s world: “Tate is a completely different person to who she was six months ago, she no long feels isolated.
“She loves playing football and being part of a team and after several years of bullying about her disability, her confidence has increased tremendously.
“Tate is happier now than we have ever seen her and to top it off, her grades at school have improved and we put it down to her attending the sessions, as well as playing football in the Sussex Disability Football League.”
Tate was recently awarded with the Albion in the Community Award due to her impressive skills and commitment on the pitch, but also her resilience and determination off it and she said: “Playing football for AITC makes me feel happy and playing in the Sussex Disability Football League helps me improve my football skills.
“I have made lots of new friends and I enjoy it because no one gives me funny looks or makes fun of me.”
Tate is one of around 300 players who regularly attend AITC’s football sessions for people with a disability and the charity now runs 31 sessions throughout Sussex.
Jade Harker, secretary of the Sussex Disability Football League said: “Having personally seen the joy that Tate and the other players get from playing fixtures in our league makes everything worthwhile and I really encourage more females, of all ages to come along and get involved.”
For further information on Disability Football in Sussex, please contact Development on the following:
T: 01903 766855