Disability Football

Sussex County FA is striving to ensure that every person who wants to be involved in the game can be involved in the game. Opportunities for players with a disability to access football at various levels in Sussex is growing but there is plenty more work to do to ensure opportunities mirror those in mainstream football.

Whether you are an enthusiastic grassroots player who enjoys a kick about with friends, or if you have ambitions to develop as a player and potentially play for your country - the good news is that the pathway is developing for you to access football at the level that meets your needs and aspirations.

Turn Up and Play
During the 2017/18 football season the Sussex County FA will be supporting more clubs to run 'Turn Up and Play' sessions with a view to setting up more regular activity for youth and female players. Sessions will be promoted when organised.

Sussex Disability Football League (SDFL)
The SDFL is a pan-disability league that operates across the whole of Sussex (the only impairment groups not included are Wheelchair users and Blind players). The league is 7-a-side and played on a 3G surface. The SDFL has over twenty teams participating in divisions for adult males and females as well as a developing junior league. The League plays at the Sussex County FA Headquarters, in Lancing, once a month which consists of teams playing between two and three games. The season runs September to June, with a winter break for January and February. More details on the SDFL can be found on their official website.

Find A Club (Adult and Youth)
There are a number of clubs and organisations who have affiliated disability football teams in Sussex for Adult and Youth players. If you would like to find a local club, use the Find A Club search tool which has all the latest information about clubs, teams they run and contact details. Please note during the summer when clubs are affiliating not all details may show.

Talent Pathway
Sussex County FA has been awarded a license by The FA to run a Talent Identification Programme (TIP) to identify players aged 12-16 years old.

The FA Talent Identification Programmes (TIPs) are environments to identify and signpost players to the ‘right’ environment at that point in time. Each year an England Talent Day (ETD) is organised before leading into a six week prescriptive player assessment/signposting period.

The following impairment groups will be eligible for the programme:
• Learning Disability
• Cerebral Palsy
• Partially Sighted
• Blind
• Deaf (Male and Female)
• Amputee

Each impairment group has a different pathway however for Cerebral Palsy, Partially Sighted & Deaf and Blind players there are Regional Talent Centres.

Setting up a Disability Team
The Sussex County FA are keen advocates of inclusive football and are keen to encourage clubs and individuals to become involved in disability football. If you are looking to establish a disability specific club advice and support is available every step of the way. Sussex County FA staff will initially meet with you to discuss plans for starting the session, offer a coach to support and mentor for the first few weeks, and help to continually promote your club. For those interested in developing their knowledge further the Sussex County FA also run a regular Coaching Disabled Footballer’s course and an annual FA Level 1 Coaching Course specially for participants with disabilities.

Impairment Specific 
Albion in the Community (AITC) are one of the biggest providers of disability football in Sussex and run regular sessions throughout the County. AITC are developing a series of impairment specific sessions including Amputee, Deaf friendly, VI & Blind, Down’s Syndrome, and Powerchair Football. For more information visit their website.

Mental Health
One in four adults every year are experiencing diagnosable mental ill-health and football can be a great way to support recovery. Lewes FC run an extensive mental health programme called Football Therapy with daytime and evening sessions and a team who enter the SDFL. Albion in the Community also offers support and run sessions specifically targeted at adults who have experienced mental health problems.

There are disability football sessions happening all across Sussex. If you want to get involved in disability football or have any queries relating to provision in your local area then please contact Development:


T: 01903 766855
E: Development@SussexFA.com

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