Every Player Counts

Mon, 2001-03-05 00:00

A group of 17 lucky footballers got the chance of a lifetime when they took part in a training session with some of Hartlepool United’s stars.

Five players Andy Monkhouse, Sam Collins, Scott Flinders, Steven Haslam and Neil Austin took part in the training session, held at East Durham College in Peterlee, as part of the Every Player Counts programme.

Every Player Counts is a community scheme run by Hartlepool United Community Sports Foundation, The Football League, The New Football Pools and the Durham FA. It aims to support disability groups and teams in the area and increase participation of males and females, over 16 years of age, with a range of disabilities.

Organiser Nikki O'Donnell, Disability Football Development Officer with Durham FA, explained: “The project supports the development of male and female footballers with physical, sensory (hearing and visual) or learning disabilities in the county.

“The players on the scheme receive coaching on a weekly basis leading to a 5-a-side league - with progression routes onto the North East Ability Counts League.”

The scheme also aims to help identify participants to become FA qualified coaches and referees with links to the Junior & Adult Disability league to help with training and officiating.

32 year old Hartlepool United defender Steven Haslam said: “It’s a real privilege for me to be involved in the coaching and I hope it can happen again soon.”

East Durham College is one of six venues in the North East that support the scheme.

Nikki added: “The facilities at East Durham College are fantastic and cater well for all disabilities. I’d really like to hold the next festival at the College. Accessibility is excellent in both senses of the word.”

On Friday 9th December there will be a large festival held at Durham Soccarena, where participants from this session will play against the other five venues.