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Competitive football

Photo: Join in the action and learn how to make football more deaf friendly

Disability Player Pathway for deaf footballers

The Disability Player Pathway and talent identification structure for deaf footballers is different to that for hearing footballers, and includes opportunities to compete in mainstream, disability and deaf-specific competition.

Deaf children may prefer to participate in mainstream football as there are more opportunities to play in a wide range of matches against the very best footballers, while others may prefer to participate in deaf football as it may be more socially and culturally appealing.

Visit the FA website to see the Disability Player Pathway for deaf footballers.

Preparation checklist for deaf-friendly football

Every football coach and team manager knows that football matches and competitions can be confusing, especially for first-time competitors.

Our handy checklist for deaf-friendly football matches or competitions will help to ensure you are fully prepared.

Things to ask the parent or footballer

  • What level of deafness do you have?
  • How do you like to communicate?
  • Do you use any equipment to help you hear?

Things to bring

  • Dry wipe board and pens
  • Coloured flags

Other considerations

  • Are any footballers competing for the first time?
  • Do you need to make changes to your risk assessment?
  • If staying away overnight for a football competition, who will be responsible for ensuring deaf swimmers are alerted to an emergency during the night?


The coaching pathway from grassroots to elite level enables new coaches to develop their skills and get involved in football at different levels. This ranges from FA Level One to FA Level Five, and there is a detailed pathway too.