Albion in the Community is looking to recruit new players to join its disability-specific football teams for the 2018/19 season.
The charity currently runs four teams that play as Brighton & Hove Albion: Brighton & Hove Albion Amputee FC (BHAAFC); Brighton & Hove Albion Cerebral Palsy FC (BHACPFC); Brighton & Hove Albion Deaf FC (BHADFC); and Brighton & Hove Albion Powerchair FC (BHAPFC).
All four sides compete in national leagues and cup competitions and BHAPFC also have a development squad that play in the South East Powerchair League – a competition they have won for each of the last three seasons.
BHACPFC, BHADFC and BHAAFC train weekly at the American Express Elite Football Performance Centre, where they also play their home matches.
BHAPFC train on an indoor powerchair court in Littlehampton and play their Muscular Dystrophy UK Premiership fixtures in Nottingham and regional games at venues across the south east, with powerchair fixtures taking place over a number of weekends throughout the season.
According to Paul Brackley, AITC’s disability manager, the four teams represent a great chance for local players with a disability to play football at a competitive level.
He said, “As a charity we now run more than 30 regular football sessions for people with a disability, which are attended by around 300 people each fortnight. Many of these offer a fantastic entry to the sport and give people the chance to enjoy playing football, meet new friends and develop their skills in a safe, structured and fun environment.
“It is important, however, that as well as providing people with the benefits of playing social, grassroots-level football, we also give people the opportunity to progress within the sport.
“Each of our disability-specific teams play at a national level of competition and in the last year we have seen a number of our players receive call-ups to national teams, which is something everyone at AITC is incredibly proud of.
“We would now love to give more people with a disability the chance to play competitively and be part of one of our teams.
“It doesn’t matter if they have never played before – our sessions were the first time many of our players had tried football.
“If you have a disability and would like to give football a go, get in touch and we’ll help identify the most-suitable session for you.”
Each of the disability-specific teams play in adult competitions, meaning the lower age-limit for players is 16. However, AITC does also have a growing number of disability-specific sessions that are aimed at junior players.
For more information on how to get involved in either the national league sides or any of AITC’s sessions for people with a disability, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.