Read time 3 minutes
The FA People’s Cup submission deadline is on Sunday 18th February and we spoke with Steven McFadyen, Disability Football Development Officer, Middlesex FA.
The FA People’s Cup
The FA People’s Cup is a small-format tournament run alongside the brilliant BBC Get Inspired initiative.
It’s completely free to get involved and the competition welcomes male and female players across 18 categories – covering U14s, veterans (over-35s) and disability football.
Growing participation numbers
I started working on the County FA’s Disability Workforce Fund project in September 2016 and now manage several key projects to grow both recreational (flexible football) and affiliated disability football.
One aspect of this we have been focusing on is growing the disability teams and leagues to ensure the player numbers remain healthy.
At Middlesex FA, we currently support three disability football leagues which are, PAN-disability for adults, an adult mental health league, and SEN school leagues. Pan-disability teams are comprised of footballers with differing impairments all playing together.
We have 21 teams in the PAN league and we want to encourage those teams and any new teams in the area to get involved and that’s why we are running an FA People’s Cup event on Sunday 25th February at Goals Ruislip!
The FA People’s Cup – Disability Categories
In FA People’s Cup disability categories, we have three levels, Premiership, Championship and League and that helps us categorise appropriate and fair levels of competition for all teams involved.
We’ve got spaces for 10 teams in each category we’d love to fill that number by the February 18th deadline. The Premiership category caters for a good standard of football with the other two leagues filtering down accordingly.
The lure of St George’s Park
Lots of teams outside the disability categories, who would be playing regularly already, have been in touch to find out about The FA People’s Cup as it offers something different. I’m sure a game at St George’s Park for the final stages has something to do with it!
I’ve even pulled together my own team for the competition and we’re up to six players, though, knowing our fitness, we could do with another three or four players!
It’s fun to experience the cup from the ground and speak to other teams about why they got involved and what they like most about the concept.
The power of football
Having been part of the project for the past two years I have seen first-hand the influence football has.
The sport can be part of players’ therapy and improves wellbeing as it brings people together and draws them away from some of life’s challenges. It gives players a chance to focus on the game and develop skills.
I’ve always loved watching the fixtures as they are competitive, but fun at the core. Players always leave smiling and our aim is to grow the number of people playing in The FA People’s Cup by extolling these additional virtues of sport.
Football is incredibly powerful and it’s fantastic being part of this initiative. We still have places available in our competitions so what’s stopping you from signing up? Deadline Day is February 18th.
For more information, see: http://the-fa.com/jZrLd4
BY - Will Chrimes
14 February 2018