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FA England Talent Day: “It’s about inspiring people to take part in football!”

Thirteen aspiring footballers showcased their talent in front of FA Disability Talent Football Scout Jon Whittingham and England footballer Darren Harris at the FA England Talent Day.

For a second successive season, Palace for Life held a FA England Talent Day in partnership with Surrey FA at the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre.

The England Talent Day is a key component of the FA Disability Talent Pathway to identify and signpost young players with cerebral palsy, hearing impairments and visual impairments aged 7-16 to suitable football environments.

“It’s about inspiring people to take part in football!”

Darren Harris

England’s most capped blind footballer Darren Harris echoed words of motivation during a presentation and talk to the next generation of impairment specific footballers from South East England prior to training in front of scout Jon Willington.

Thirteen players from South London and as far as Sussex attended the Talent Day, focusing on identifying young players with the potential to represent their country.

The day began with a presentation from FA Disability Talent Football Scout Jon Whittingham, followed by a talk with England footballer Darren Harris on his journey to over 150 caps for the England Blind Football National Team.

Raring for the chance to get outside and play in the sun, the inspiring presentations were followed by the chance for participants to get outside, where they were raring to go and play football in the sun, with players with cerebral palsy, visual impairment and hearing impairments put through their paces by Foundation Coach John Harney.

One young blind footballer received one-to-one expertise coaching from Palace for Life Disability Officer Keon Richardson and England Blind Football Veteran, Darren Harris.


One of the players, Ben Whitely, said: “I loved everything, especially showing my skills and doing the zig-zag game through the cones. I also loved meeting Darren Harris!”

England international Darren Harris said: “It’s all about inspiring people to take part in sport and find something you love doing. You can get a lot out of football at every level.”

Following the FA England Talent Day, the players will be signposted to grassroots or impairment specific teams local to them or the FA Regional Emerging Talent Programme.

Palace for Life Foundation offers a wide variety of disability programmes to enable young people and adults across South London to enjoy sport and make new friends. To find out more about our programmes, contact our Disability Officer Keon Richardson via email: KeonRichardson@palaceforlife.org or on 075 2222 5373.

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