iCanCoach: Paul Young
Tell us about how and why you got involved in disability football?
I used to play for Leeds Deaf FC for several years, playing in both Saturday Hearing League and National Deaf Cup competitions. Playing for the club was a good way to play at a good standard of football regularly and socialise with other deaf players. I was privileged to be coached by the club’s manager, an ex GB deaf player who won a football gold medal. He undoubtedly shaped me to the player I became. I also became Secretary, Football Development Officer and Chairman for the club.
What do you enjoy about coaching disability football?
I get to coach children who are deaf like myself and use both speech and signing communication. I can relate with them and have good rapport with them. It is important to provide a football and social environment for both deaf and hearing-impaired children.
What are your greatest achievements in disability football and why?
Setting up Leeds Deaf Juniors FC in 2013 was one of my greatest achievements. I had excellent support from West Riding FA and Paul Gorman (now Head Coach for Leeds Powerchair Football) for the initial set-up. Some players who came to first coaching sessions are now playing for local mainstream teams which is great progress.
The club is almost six years old and we are now called ‘Farsley Celtic Deaf Colts FC’ under the umbrella of Farsley Celtic FC. This partnership is essential for us to develop further. I am pleased to say that we now have a pathway including a deaf adult team, a futsal club, and a deaf colts team.
What is your best memory of coaching?
When we won our first trophy at a Disability Count Juniors Tournament in Doncaster a few years ago. Players and parents celebrations at the end of winning penalty shootout were wild to say the least!
What are your personal goals for the sport and in particular disability football?
To provide a pathway and opportunity for deaf and hearing-impaired children to play to their full potential. I would love to have more qualified deaf coaches who can continue the progress.
What are the biggest obstacles you have faced in football?
Communication. Attitude. People’s understanding of deafness. We have always tried to be professional in our approach, on and off pitch.
Who’s had the biggest influence in your coaching career and why?
That is easy, Paul Gorman! Without his enthusiasm and passion for coaching, I would not have become a coach. We chat and bounce ideas off each other, his attitude and deaf awareness are second to none. You could say that he is my mentor.
What advice would you give to people wishing to get involved in disability football whether it be playing or coaching?
Contact your local disability or deaf football club and get involved in any way. Everyone has to start somewhere!