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Deaf Friendly Footballers - Manchester United Foundation

Young hearing-impaired football players picked up some top tips from Reds Darren Fletcher and Carling Cup Hero Ben Foster, when the Foundation and the National Deaf Children’s Society held a special training session at the Champions training ground.

It was all part of Premier League Creating Chances and involved young people aged 8-18 from North West schools, who attend regular deaf-friendly football sessions as part of the Foundation’s disability programme.&

Darren Fletcher was impressed with the skills on show and picked up a few new skills himself, he said:

‘Ben and I had a good kick around with the kids today - they were a really good bunch and some of them look like they could be destined for big things!’

‘It was really interesting to see how the kids use sign language when they train and I even learnt how to sign my name.”

The aim of deaf-friendly sessions is to encourage youngsters to take up football and develop their confidence.& Rob Danson, NDCS Football Development Officer explained why that is so important,

“Deafness makes it harder for children to communicate which can be very isolating. Many deaf children and young people find it difficult to participate in football because clubs may not set up to provide good communication. “&

Last year, Sir Alex Ferguson signed up to the NCDS Deaf Friendly Football Club Pledge (DFFC) on behalf of Manchester United and the Foundation.& The DFFC project is opening up football opportunities to deaf children across the UK.

The sessions are definitely having the desired affect, with two of the youngsters who attend now playing for the mainstream Girls team.& Athena Preston said:& “It was great to meet first team players, I love football - it’s my favourite thing to do and I am really enjoying playing for Manchester United.”