Charity talent centres for blind, deaf and partially-sighted footballers are recruiting new sighted goalkeepers after one of their current players performed so well he was snapped up by a top university.
Sam Marsden, a current goalkeeper with Albion in the Community (AITC), is from Worthing. He has been very successful, and has been training with the England set-up at St George’s Park and given a place at the University of Bristol, meaning the charity needs to find replacements.
AITC is the official charity of Brighton & Hove Albion FC and the largest provider of disability football in the area.
It runs more than 30 regular sessions across Sussex, including two regional talent centres which it delivers on behalf of the Football Association (FA). The talent centres, which are aimed at partially sighted, deaf or blind players, provide expert coaching to promising young footballers with the aim of supplying future internationals to the England teams.
AITC teamed up with the FA last season and the partnership has already proved successful and a sighted goalkeeper from AITC’s blind football programme has been earmarked for international recognition.
Sighted goalkeepers play a key role in partially sighted futsal and blind football, not just for their ability to keep the ball out of the net, but also by directing and organising the outfield players.
Sam Marsden, who only took up goalkeeping in October, has been training with the full England blind squad at St George’s Park and looks set for a starring role in the National Blind League.
Paul Brackley, AITC’s disability manager, has been delighted with Sam’s progress but it now presents the charity with a new challenge – to find a goalkeeper to take his place.
Paul said: “Sam has done brilliantly and everyone at AITC is very proud of his achievements. We now need to find someone to fill his gloves. It is a great opportunity and Sam is a perfect example of what it can lead to.”
Sighted goalkeepers must be aged between 13 and 21 to qualify for the talent centres but can come from any football background.
Goalkeepers who make it onto AITC’s programme will receive two hours of dedicated goalkeeper training each week as well as working alongside either the charity’s partially sighted and deaf futsal players or its blind footballers.
For more information on the talent centres, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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