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Title joy for Addicks youngsters
4:25pm Tuesday 20th March 2012 in Youth Football
CHARLTON Athletic Deaf FC U12s have been crowned champions at an annual tournament for deaf youngsters.
Organised by the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS), more than 140 deaf children from 21 teams battled it out at the southern region’s national deaf youth football tournament in Reading.
The competition is part of the NDCS Deaf Friendly Football Club project, which encourages junior football clubs of all sizes to open up their teams to deaf players.
Following the highly competitive group stages, Charlton Athletic Deaf FC U12s faced Cardiff City Deaf FC in the final.
Having already beat Charlton earlier in the day, the Cardiff team went into the final as favourites.
However, a spirited display from the Addicks secured a shard-earned 1-0 victory, handing them the U12s title in their debut season.
Charlton Athletic Deaf FC team manager Steven Wynne said: “I’m really pleased and delighted with my players.
“They worked really hard, played as a team and enjoyed themselves.
“To attend on the day, against so many fantastic teams and to come through such a difficult final, was amazing.
“The final was a fantastic match to watch yet nerve wrecking at the same time.
“The boys get so much out of being part of tournaments like this one and show deafness doesn’t stop them from being brilliant players.
“We will be back next year to defend our title.”
NDCS inclusive activities manager Hayley Jarvis added: “We’d like to congratulate Charlton Athletic Deaf FC on becoming champions.
“Our tournament is a celebration of the football clubs and coaches who have succeeded in making football accessible to more than 1,000 deaf children, who otherwise wouldn’t be able to enjoy the sport.
“As we’ve seen at this weekend’s competition, involving deaf children in football is great for their confidence and social skills.
“We want to make sure that deaf young people have the same opportunities to take part in sports as any other children and encourage other clubs to take the NDCS Deaf-Friendly Pledge.”
The NDCS Deaf Friendly FC Project was set up in 2007 with the help of a grant from the UK’s largest sports charity, the Football Foundation (FF).
An additional grant of £129,623 was awarded by the FF, and the Football Association also provided £10,000 towards the project.
NDCS now works with 100 football clubs all over England, including Manchester United and Arsenal, to create regular playing, coaching and socialising opportunities for deaf children and young people.
Clubs who want to find out about becoming accessible to deaf children, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit ndcs.org.uk/football
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