Action from England's game with Japan at the Cerebral Palsy World Cup

Disability football performance pathway: From grassroots to the elite game

Overview

The FA disability football performance unit has a clear vision: to develop winning England teams. In order to do so, the mission is to deliver the world’s leading talent programme for disability sport, maximising player and coach potential.

Details of the performance pathway for 2017-21 are outlined below

England Talent Days

FA England Talent Days will be recognised as the first selective environment in the Player Pathway. The Programme will identify and signpost players to the ‘right’ environment at that point in time (they will run on a yearly basis to ensure that players can be re-assessed and kept in the Talent System). ETDs will not be viewed as player development environments. The England Talent Day will be underpinned with the formation of local Disability Football Recruitment Networks responsible for driving player identification and recruitment. 

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Talent Hubs

Talent Hubs will deliver engagement sessions for players with cerebral palsy, deaf players and partially sighted players. Sessions will enable continued talent identification/confirmation opportunities and will impact younger players than previously engaged in Regional Talent Centres (7-11 and 12-16 cohorts).

Hubs will be used as a ‘check point’ for these players and will have robust processes to link players to appropriate mainstream clubs or impairment specific clubs.

It is envisaged that the number of Hubs will increase annually and will be hosted by a range of organisations including CFAs, English Football League Trusts and Premier League Foundations and Trusts.

These organisations will be supported by The FA to develop comprehensive action plans focusing on recruitment strategies for disabled players and sighted goalkeepers, training and development opportunities for staff, Futsal placements for players, educational and apprenticeship opportunities and effective marketing and communications activity. 

Click here for regional hub contacts.

Regional Emerging Talent Programme (5 to 11 and 12 to 16)

Regional Emerging Talent Programmes will again be viewed as the ‘check point’ environment for those players engaged in either impairment specific or mainstream football activity. This environment will support player tracking and monitoring of developmental progress and performance standards; thus informing selection for the National Emerging Talent Programme. Activity at Regional Programmes will ‘kick start’ case conferencing and will prepare players for future involvement in the Pathway via age specific technical coaching and wider four corner support. There will be a focus on preparing players psychologically for progression and Regional Programmes will allow mainstream players to engage for the first time without interruption to the meaningful competition accessed in their chosen environment. Strong links will exist with Regional Impairment Specific Clubs.

National Emerging Talent Programme (12 to 16)

National FA Emerging Talent Programmes (12 to 16) and (16-19) will be implemented to support the effective transition of players from Regional Emerging Talent Programmes to England Development Squads. Age specific programmes will be provided for each cohort with the deployment of key staff and technical coaches aligned to this. This Programme will provide bespoke support to each individual engaged to ensure that potential is maximised and the opportunity to develop is extended beyond the capacity of the environment they currently participate/compete within. The programme will include a minimum of three Emerging Talent Camps (three-day camps) for each age specific cohort to ensure that players are fully engaged in the programme. This will also enable individualised strength and conditioning programmes and health and wellbeing diaries to be implemented. Case conferencing of all players introduced to the Emerging Talent Programme will be a priority to ensure that appropriate competition, funding and support locally is sourced for the individual.

National Emerging Talent Programme (16 to 19)

The National Emerging Talent 16+ cohort will also be offered the opportunity to access education and employment within a partner club. These players will not only participate in the National Camps described previously but will be engaged via a role profile impacting completion of an agreed personal development plan impacting the four corners and focused on physical and training/competitive outcomes. This is likely to be underpinned by an initial ‘traineeship’ which will test suitability for the apprenticeship. This will in turn support individuals to secure future employment whilst preparing them fully for transition to England U21 squads. Support to individuals via TASS, Sports Aid and Backing the Best will be targeted at Emerging Talent Programme cohorts (age dependent against criteria of each programme).

England U21 Squads

England U21 squad camps will be provided for deaf players and players with cerebral palsy. Three camps per season will be complemented by a competitive opportunity (European and World Para Youth Games or Home Nations). Blind, partially sighted and amputee players will transition direct from National Emerging Talent Programme cohorts to England/Great Britain Senior Squads. As suggested earlier, power chair footballers will be supported to transition from national club and league structures to the Elite Senior Squad for European and World Championship cycles.

England and Great Britain elite impairment-specific squads

 The FA supports the delivery of England elite impairment-specific squads for blind players, partially-sighted players, players with cerebral palsy, powerchair footballers and deaf players. These squads compete in European and world competitions on a cyclical basis. The FA also takes responsibility for the Great Britain Disability Football Association, which in turn supports the participation of the Great Britain blind team in Paralympic Games.

Cerebral palsy football international player pathway & competition structures

 The IFCPF (International Federation of Cerebral Palsy Football) is the international federation that oversees cerebral palsy football. There are European and world championships played every four years, while The FA oversees a male England CP international squad.

Blind football international player pathway & competition structures

 The IBSA is the international federation that oversees blind football and there are European championships held every two years and world championships every four years. Blind football is also currently the only format of football played at the Paralympic Games, having first appeared in Beijing 2008.. The FA oversees and funds a full-time male blind international squad.

Deaf football international player pathway & competition structures

 There are deaf football European and world championships (Futsal) held every four years that England male and female international squads enter. The Deaflympics are held every four years.

Powerchair football international player pathway & competition structures

The FIPFA is the international federation that oversees powerchair football, and there are European and world championships every four years. The FA oversees a mixed-gender England international team.

To understand more about Disability Talent ID, please see the file below...