Discovering hidden talents
James, 13, started attending our Waddon Youth Club just four weeks ago, but he’s already come on leaps and bounds and has discovered he is very talented goalkeeper!
Waddon Youth Club is a term-time football session on Tuesday evenings for young people aged 11+ with learning disabilities. It serves as respite for parents and the session is run in partnership with the Croydon Local Authority.
James was one of the players from the session invited to represent Palace for Life in a pan-disability tournament at Chelsea Foundation and his mum, Trina, explained what the experience meant to her son.
James really has been struggling with confidence and anxiety. This will help him so much and enable him to believe in himself more!
James' Mum, Trina
“I want to thank Palace and [coaches] Keon, Tommy and Anton for the invitation for James to represent Palace in the disability tournament, he had an awesome day. You cannot believe the self-confidence it has given him. He played as goalkeeper and managed many amazing saves including a penalty save against Chelsea! Honestly I am so emotional at the pride he showed when he saved that shot!
“Anton and Tommy decided between them that James be awarded Man of the Match. Once again the smile and delight James expressed brought tears to both mine and my husband’s eyes! James really has been struggling with confidence and anxiety. This will help him so much and enable him to believe in himself more! We are currently going to family therapy to help with his confidence and anxiety problems he has. I simply cannot wait till the next session where he can explain and express his delight.
“James has tried out for the school football team and for other football events but is never chosen. Well today proved to him that he can do it!!
“I simply cannot thank the staff enough for their encouragement, teaching and care shown to him at the sessions and today. Tommy and Anton did a fantastic job with encouraging and motivating the team.
“I would like you to pass on my personal thanks to them and to Palace, thank you for making a difference in my son’s life. You really cannot understand what this means to him and to us as proud parents!”
Palace for Life Disability Officer Keon Richardson added: “James has only been to our Learning Disability Football session at Waddon for the past month but he’s fitted right in. He’s polite, helpful and a brilliant goalkeeper. He was shy at first, but over the past few weeks he is frequently interacting with the other young people.”
To find out more about our disability sessions, contact firstname.lastname@example.org