Paul Jubb's Story Behind FA People's Cup Finalists, Bradford City Disability Ladies
Bradford City’s disability ladies team head to the FA People’s Cup Finals at St. George’s Park on Saturday. Head coach Paul Jubb helped form the team and takes up their story...
It is their version of the proper FA Cup and they all know the name and love to play in it.A lot of disabled players never thought they’d ever be involved the FA Cup, but this competition has provided that for them, so we’re really looking forward to it.
We’ve got a full coachload going to St. George’s Park, as our U16 boys have qualified for the Finals too, but it’s more about taking part than winning it for us.
We’ve only been going for about six months with the ladies team after managing to get enough players to form a squad after we got some funding from the 'Grow The Game' programme to start a ladies disability team.
And they do enjoy their football. They all come to every training session and they’re improving, so it’s a real success story for us.
We have Gemma Rose-Fletcher who is in wheelchair, has no legs and she’s the goalkeeper. To see Gemma playing football is brilliant. She’s always been a big fan of Bradford City and interested in watching football, but to see her playing the game and making saves is unbelievable for me.
I’ve been coaching disability football for nearly 18 years now and I’ve never seen anything like it.
We also have another Gemma, who is a Huddersfield Town fan and is married to one of their male players so I never thought I’d ever see her in a Bradford City kit, given the local rivalry.
And we have Louise, who has Down’s Syndrome and had never played football in her life, but she’s started playing now and she loves it. There’s also Katie, who has been with the club since she was ten and she’s now 16 and she just loves playing football either in goal or out.
As a coach, I take great joy in working in disability football after initially starting out in the mainstream game. It was when I started off working in an autistic school, I just enjoyed it so much that I wanted to do it full-time and it’s my life.
I enjoy trying to change people’s lives and what I enjoy most about disability football is that people really appreciate what you’re doing for them, whether it's the players, their families, carers or their friends. Disabled people just want the chance to play football.
It’s brilliant, so I’d advise anyone to do it. All of our players can now say they’ve played in the FA People’s Cup which is a great feeling for them.