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Soccability Thrives with
Healthy 4 Life

Beacon Hill Rovers Football Club working with Healthy 4 Life reached another milestone in its commitment to encourage football in the community when the first ever Essex disability football league played its inaugural round of matches in the 2009 / 2010 season. Teams from across the region met in Basildon to play the first of six competitive 5-aside match days that make up the new Essex Soccability League schedule. Healthy 4 Life players coached by Beacon Hill Rovers were involved in no less than eight of the fourteen teams competing.

The opening match day was a learning experience for all the teams. Results were unpredictable, with the strengths and weaknesses of the opposition an unknown quantity. Our Witham and Chelmsford teams won three, drew one and lost eight of their matches. Dean was top scorer with three goals while Sam, Adam and Nick also got on the score sheet with one apiece.

To the teams' credit they played better against the better teams - hitting the woodwork on a number of occasions and making plenty of chances. Both keepers, Len and Nigel, had good games and helped keep the scores respectable. “It was an enjoyable start to the league programme and has given us some good pointers for areas to work on in our future coaching sessions,” said Peter Mickelsen, Beacon Hill's Soccability Manager, “The players are extremely enthusiastic about playing in the new league and can't wait for the next round of matches.”

The fledgling league is a product of the development of football for people in Essex with a learning disability by local clubs and organisations. This has taken place over a number of years and as a partner in this process Beacon Hill Rovers and its coaches have played a significant role. They began working with players, their carers and therapists in 2007 to provide coaching and practise when they might not otherwise be able to play football. Initially, coaching support was given to a group in Colchester, then expanded to include Braintree and Witham. Partner football clubs in Clacton and Chelmsford followed suit as enthusiasm for the programme grew. Subsequently, a number of friendly matches were played last season and, with support from the Essex County FA and local disability organisations,  the league was founded this year.

The coaching programme delivered by Beacon Hill's FA licensed coaches, access to which is by clinical referral, is beneficial tothe players in a number of ways. As well as physical activity and social interaction, it offers them the chance to learn and develop a variety of life skills. Consistent with Beacon Hill's approach to its coaching throughout the club, the programme seeks to provide access to football for all, irrespective of their abilities. Up to twenty Healthy 4 Life Soccability players take part every week on the outdoor synthetic pitch at Bramston Sports Centre in Witham developing their football skills, and great progress has been made since the sessions began almost two years ago.

Playing in a league creates even more opportunities to have new and rewarding experiences. The next round of matches will take place in Colchester on Saturday 28th of November. The teams will then travel to various grounds across the region to compete in four more match days before the season ends. To find out more about the teams, fixtures and results check out the Healthy 4 Life team page on the Beacon Hill website and if you can make it to any of the match days to support, the players and coaches would be delighted to see you.

To learn more about football in Essex for players with a disability go to:


Essex Soccability ensures players can play in a structured, safe and supportive environment

The team line up before a friendly match last year.

Witham based players taking part in the first match day were James, Nick, Nigel, Dean, Adam, Len, Rob, Adam, Lawrie, Sam, Mikey, Matt and Rodney.


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